International Health Humanities Network Membership

Jack Truten

MA U of Edinburgh

PhD U of Pennsylvania 

English Professor Lafayette College, PA

Fellow, College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Clinical Ethics Fellow

Foundational/Advanced training in Narrative Medicine, Columbia U, NYC

Consultant-Director, Narrative Professionalism Program, U of Pennsylvania-Health System

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Marina Tsaplina

Marina Tsaplina is a U.S. based performing artist, patient advocate and Founder, CEO and Creative Director of THE BETES Organization whose mission is to employ the performing arts to help people with chronic conditions form a flourishing relationship with their health.

A Scholar in the Medical Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine - Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine, her work is dedicated to bringing artistic intervention into health care in order to achieve a more inclusive culture that elevates the patient and artist voice. Through BETES growing programming, she brings the unique power of arts-based research to chronic illness care to serve patients young and old, caregivers, and to strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.

She has lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was two years old.

She studied puppetry in Germany, France, and the U.S. and has always been driven to investigate interdisciplinary applications of the arts in order to deliver transformative social impact.

“Artists hold a key value proposition for our current health care system. Amidst automation and advanced technological innovation, there is still a deep need to nurture the human spirit of the person who lives within a body that is in some way not well. This is the space for artistic practice to thrive and serve the entire ecosystem of care.”

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Kirsi Tuohela

I am postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Turku, a cultural historian interested in various kinds of autobiographical texts from letters and diaries to published autobiographies. I have written about cultural history of women’s writing, cultural history of psychiatry, history of melancholia. My monograph (PhD thesis) analyzed women’s autobiographical texts on melancholia in the late nineteenth century Scandinavia. At the moment I am involved in two research projects, one of them focuses on written madness – mental illness in Finnish autobiographies and novels. The other one focuses on the ‘inner child’ in Finnish autobiographical literature in the context of emerging Finnish 'mind sciences'.

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Margo Turnbull

I am an academic and clinician with a keen interest in the social, cultural and political dimensions of health.

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Lalit Kumar Upadhyay PHD

Dr Lalit Kumar Upadhyay PHD, DYA

Founder President United World Against Diabetes

United World Against Diabetes (UWAD) is a non-government organisation fighting against diabetes in India. The mission of UWAD is to promote diabetes care, control, prevention, awareness and working to increase access of essential medicines and insulin for diabetic people. We are advocate for children with Type 1 diabetes and women living with diabetes.

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Julia Vaughan

Julia has worked as a painter and photographer for over 30 years. She has taught Art at secondary level and Historical and Theoretical Studies and Design Management at undergraduate level in departments of Art and Design.

She is interested in the potential of the arts to enhance wellbeing and protect good mental health. She has been active in the organisation of Wirksworth Festival, Derbyshire and has run community arts projects. 

Currently, she is working as an Art Psychotherapist with students in an academy school in Nottinghamshire.



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Sara Vilar-Lluch

I am a linguistics PhD student in the University of East Anglia, I hold an MA in English Language and Applied Linguistics (University of Huddersfield) and a degree in Philosophy (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona).

Research interests:

Representation of mental illness in intitutional and laypeople's discourses and self-representation.
Linguistic discourse analysis, Sytemic Functional Linguistics, metaphor.

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William Viney

William Viney is Postdoctral Research Fellow in the Centre for Medical Humanities and the Department of English Studies, Durham University.

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Nicholas Vogelpoel

Medical Humanities Portfolio Manager at the Wellcome Trust

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Nicholas Vogelpoel

I started as an applied arts practitioner and a specialist support disability support worker. I became interested in the potential for narrative, storytelling and reconstructions of identity to practically shape and reconfigure experiences of disability, citizenship and recovery. Through practice and research into the relationship between contemporary performance making, autopathology, and catharsis, I intended to build a framework through which personal amnesty could be achieved.

I started an inclusive youth theatre company for young people experiencing disability to have access to arts-based training, with the intention of promoting the applied learning of communication skills for participants embarking on their adult lives.

I have worked as a researcher, educator, manager, practitioner, coach, facilitator and advocate in Arts-in-Health, Community Development and Disability Arts throughout my short career.

I have recently completed my PhD researching alternative and translational approaches to health evaluation in the disability sector, in order to actively critique current models of health evaluation used in the social care sector, specifically in terms of promoting social inclusion (or lack thereof). My research interests and specialties are in the intersections that can exist between health and arts work, specifically in the re-alignment of pathological approaches to health evaluation.

I am interested in the potential for applied arts work to enhance and improve the experience of health and well-being for young people experiencing disabilities, transitioning from child funding, to adult funding. The confusing and uneasy relationship between policy and lived experience in the disability sector can be explained and understood through engagement with new methodological processes.

I work in the spaces between arts and health practice, process and research. The intersections fascinate me, and the possibilities for improving the health and wellbeing of the people I interact with, in the programs I coordinate, are exciting and continuously evolving.

I am interested in pursuing a new line of research concerned with the relationship between narratives of amnesty, the pedagogy of reconstructed health identities, and the disillusion of trans-institutional policy and procedure in the disability sector, particularly in the cyclical environment of current approaches to mental health care.

I have worked for a range of different educational, NGO, charity, community and health-based organisations in a range or roles. I enjoy diversity in the workplace, and in the world, and intend to continue my work in this area, until social inclusion is wiped from government policy, and is indeed made redundant by its own success.


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  • Arts & Humanities Research Council
  • The  institue of mental health nottingham
  • National Institute of Health
  • Centre for Advanced Studies
  • The University of Nottingham United Kingdom China Malaysia
  • De Montfort University Leicester
  • OPPNET Basic Behaviour & Social Science Opportunity Network