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Humanities department to host Grand Rounds lecture on Improv4Health techniques

The Department of Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine is hosting a Grand Rounds lecture, Improv4Health Professionals: The Science of Teaching the Art of Medicine, at noon Dec. 8.

Amy Zelenski, PhD

Amy Zelenski, PhD

This lecture will be presented by Amy Zelenski, PhD, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Zelenski designs curriculum and teaches improvisation, communication, empathy, teamwork, teaching and self-awareness skills. Her research focuses on teaching physicians how to engage in empathetic behaviors with their patients, learners and inter-professional colleagues.

Improv’s story began with two women: Neva Boyd, a sociology and theatre professor at the University of Chicago, and Viola Spolin, an educator and acting coach. Spolin influenced the first generation of improvisational actors at the Second City in Chicago in the mid- to late 1950s. Decades later, medical educators found Improv Activities developed by these Improv founders to be a powerful tool in reinvigorating medical professionals’ encounters with patients. These techniques have also been used to help patients struggling with anxiety and Parkinson’s Disease. Come join the Department of Humanities in exploring this rich history and discussing how Improv can enrich everyone’s own experiences.

Continuing education credits are available for Penn State Health and College of Medicine employees only. Information for obtaining CE credits will be made available at the start of the lecture.

This event, which is free and open to the public, will be noon to 1:15 p.m. Dec. 8 via Zoom. Join the Zoom lecture here. The passcode is 329910.

For more information, email

This lecture is sponsored by the Department of Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine in collaboration with the Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education.

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