|Fall 2011||Volume 27, Number 1||Findings Magazine|
Health in Performance
Hitting the Right Notes
For these School of Public Health faculty members and students, the University of Michigan’s Life Sciences Orchestra “is a great break from our professional lives,” says Edward Norton, professor of health management and policy and French hornist. With final exams and grades looming, Norton and his colleagues took time out last April to perform works by Beethoven, Dvořák, Ravel, and others in a glorious Hill Auditorium concert. Pictured above: (top row, left to right):
(second row, l-r):
Photo by Peter Smith
Discover the Life Sciences Orchestra with SPH student blogger Tasha Edwards (April 2011):
Actress Sarah Jones: Our Right to Health
Before the lights had dimmed, a stooped woman in a gray blanket emerged from the shadows at the back of Rackham Auditorium and began making her way toward the stage. The audience of more than 500—who had gathered to celebrate both the 25th anniversary of the SPH Summer Enrichment Program in Health Management and Policy (SEP) and the 25th annual Minority Health Conference—stopped chattering, and by the time the woman had heaved herself onto the stage and limped to the podium, the room was silent. In a gravelly drawl the stranger introduced herself. “I’m a P.H.D.,” she said. “Poor, homeless, and disabled.” Later she told the crowd, “We might not look the same, but I am your mirror.”
The homeless woman was one of ten characters who took the stage during the next hour—all of them brought to life by Sarah Jones, a Tony award–winning playwright and actress whose ability to impersonate others is nothing short of spooky. Jones has performed at the White House and Off-Broadway and is working on a commission for Lincoln Center Theater. The one-woman, multi-character show she brought to Ann Arbor in March, A Right to Care, was commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and offered a riveting look at the ways that ethnic, racial, and economic inequities wreak havoc in the lives of Americans—especially immigrants.
While in Ann Arbor, Jones received a King-Chavez-Parks Visiting Professorship from UM. In awarding Jones the professorship—which brings guest faculty “with diverse points of view and experiences” to campus—SPH Associate Professor and SEP Director Rich Lichtenstein said, “You have certainly contributed a diverse point of view to the university—ten times over.”
Three hundred graduates and preceptors marked the 25th anniversary of SEP, which provides summer internships to undergraduates interested in working to eliminate health disparities. To date the program has helped shepherd more than 200 young people into the public health profession. The SEP anniversary coincided with the 25th year of the Minority Health Conference, sponsored by the Public Health Students of African Descent.