September Williams notes for "Chasing Mercury: The Narrative Roots of Medical Altruism" 3/2/2018 University of Illinois College of Medicine

Chasing Mercury: The Narrative Roots of  Medical Altruism

March 2, 2018,  2PM -3:30PM September Williams, MD Physician-writer, Bioethicist, Filmmaker University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine’s Medical Colloquia

1 ) Introduction: 

Definition of Altruism: “The belief in or practice of self disinterested concern for the well-being of others.”

Definition of Narrative: “The practice or art of telling/hearing stories.”

Aristotilean Plot Curve.031.jpeg


2)  10 minute clip from film When We Are Asked: About Crossing Over  Clip In: 00:13:39 - visual Ascending camera under structure of Roosevelt Bridge New York /Out: 00:23:13 —Music: “Actions speak Louder than Words, “ September/ old Cook County *  


3) Reading of the first chapter of Chasing Mercury, 'The St Lawrence Seaway, July  1973' (or maybe the 3rd)  that would take 15 minutes. This is the hook.

 The Minamata Convention on Mercury went into Force as an international treaty on  August 16, 2017.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury went into Force as an international treaty on  August 16, 2017.



4) Instructions to students will actively listening:   scribble for word cloud  (while I read) things about which they did not know, or that raised an eyebrow, or captured their minds because of their familiarity (or lack there of). They can do it on their electronic devices if they choose. I essentially  want them to construct a "word cloud." (AV and Computer set up FOR A WORD CLOUD) 

5) Ask students to verbally say the words from their word clouds, Standing up— simultaneously ( A word Shower)  ideally while walking around the room - "shouting out"

— Have students sit and talk about their words, one at a time picking the most important first, going around the room, if time going to another. Why did a word  captured them or resonated with them. 

  6)  Finally,  I would tell them why I chose those words— what captured me to plant them in a novel --instead of a non-fiction book or a film. Examples of words to explore  might be: Mercury(God) —mercury ( all it’s name sakes--Virgil) Sicily, Forest ,Black Ballerina, feathers, International Travel, Epilepsy, Powwow Dancer Whistleblower Journalist, Identity ( Tribal, Ethnic, Nationality, Race, Language), Guardian Angel, Infatuation, Betrayal, Cold War ,Josephine Baker, Maria Tallchief, The Firebird, Headdress Feathers. -- That is contextual references.



7) Then I would like to share the ways in which each of their words have a bioethical/clinical ethical context. i.e. # the number of people in the USA with epilepsy vs single seizures, the American Disabilities Act; environmental racism and distribution of persistent toxic organic pollutants and heavy metals, Dancers and performers breaking racial barriers, Religious connotations, 

8) Share something of Narrative theory, Contextual References and the Aristotilian Plot Curve and how to leave an audience with a sense of understanding and resolution of conflict — and how that is the same thing as a case presentation. 

9) Encourage students to always understand what drives their own word clouds, and to make one when they hear the narratives of medicine, patients Subjective

9)  Look at how two tiered mechanism for  shared decisional capacity is depended on cross cultural communication.  ( see online notes) 

Two Tiered  Assessment of Shared Decisional Capacity .jpg