Woman painting at an easel.

Our goals

Our programs enhance creative self-expression, critical thinking and analysis, empathy and compassion, narrative competence, deep listening, and clinical observation and reasoning skills.

We have two primary goals:

  • to enhance our understanding of patient experiences around health, illness, and disability
  • to support the well-being of health professionals and students

Our namesake

The Alan Klass Program in Health and Humanities honours of the late surgeon and UM faculty member Alan Klass [BA/27, MD/32, LLD/73]. Established by Dr. Jillian Horton, the program recognizes and honours Dr. Klass for championing social justice and advocacy work in medicine.

Program requirements

Upon completion of the requirements, participants will receive a Certificate in Health, Arts, and Humanities.

Core courses

Introduction to the Arts, Humanities and Health
Overview of the program and its requirements, theoretical foundations and core concepts.

Narrative Medicine: Introductory Course
This course uses literature and poetry, storytelling, and journaling to develop deeper receptive and active communication, reflection and interpretation, and improve relationships with patients and colleagues.

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that reduces burnout among health professionals and enhances patient-centred care. This course explores mindfulness skills in order to attend to negative emotions, manage stress, and find meaning and connection in clinical work.

  • Arts-based electives

    Completion of a minimum of 32 hours of arts-based workshops offered by the Alan Klass Program in Health and Humanities.


  • Final project

    Create an artistic work in a chosen art form, present it to fellow students and faculty, and lead a brief discussion.

Contact us for more information.

Our team

  • Portrait of Jillian Horton.
  • Jillian Horton, BA, MA, MD, FRCPC (Internal Medicine)

Additional information

Dr. Jillian Horton is a general internist who serves in multiple leadership positions at University of Manitoba’s Max Rady College of Medicine. This includes inaugural director of Rady Faculty of Health Science’s programs in physician and learner wellness, director of the Alan Klass Health Humanities Program and associate chair of the department of internal medicine.

Horton previously served as the associate dean of undergraduate student affairs at the Max Rady College of Medicine.

She has won numerous awards for mentorship, professionalism, and teaching.

She is also an accomplished musician and writer. She published her bestselling memoir We Are All Perfectly Fine in 2021.

  • Portrait of Susan Wingert.
  • Susan Wingert, BHEc, MSc, PhD (Sociology)
    Program steward

Additional information

Dr. Susan Wingert is the program steward for the Alan Klass Program in Health and Humanities at the University of Manitoba.

She is also a sociologist specializing in health and aging and qualitative research. She has researched mental health, reproductive technologies, and social and economic oppression and inequality.

Wingert has co-edited several volumes on Indigenous research and policy.

She is a founding member of the Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium and the International Indigenous Policy Journal, where she served as managing editor for over a decade.

She is a certified creative writing workshop facilitator with Amherst Writers and Artists.

  • portrait of Joanne Hamilton.
  • Joanne Hamilton, RD, BHEc, MEd, EdD

Additional information

Dr. Joanne Hamilton joined the Max Rady College of Medicine in 1999 in the department of family medicine as their education dietitian/education director. Prior to this she held many leadership positions, including executive director of the Northern Diabetes Health Network, chair of the Diabetes Educator Section for the Canadian Diabetes Association and chair of the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board.

In 2006, she joined the department of medical education as the director of faculty development. In 2013, as the department grew, she was promoted into the position of director of educational development. In 2016, she was made director of the newly created Office of Educational and Faculty Development, now known as the Office of Innovation and Scholarship in Medical Education. Joanne is a registered dietitian, a graduate of the University of Manitoba, and the Misericordia Hospital Dietetic Internship program. She completed her doctorate in education at Northeastern University in Boston, focusing on curriculum change leadership in medical schools.

Joanne’s interests include behaviour change, educational change, and organizational learning, including the role of narratives in the change process. Other interests include critical theory and the challenges faced by women in academia. In her role, she works to assist faculty members and Rady Faculty of Health Sciences programs in their pursuit of excellence in education.


  • Lisa Bryski.
  • Dr. Lisa Bryski
    Graphic medicine

Additional information

Dr. Lisa Bryski is a Winnipeg emergency physician deeply infected with the storytelling bug.

Blood Chill by moranpress.com is her latest novel. Bryski’s publications include award-winning Book of Birds and children's story The Harmonica Tree. Keep watch for her next novel, Anatomy Lessons, in 2020.

  • Portrait of Gregory Chomichuk.
  • Gregory Chomichuk
    Graphic medicine

Additional information

Greg Chomichuk is a Canadian writer, teacher, mixed media artist, graphic novelist, and proud Winnipegger.

He puts words and pictures together. Some people call that alchemy. He calls that comics.

He won the Manitoba Young Writers Award when he was 15. He won the Manitoba Book Award for Best Illustrated Book in 2011.

His graphic novel series, The Imagination Manifesto, has been nominated for Best Canadian Graphic Novel in the 2012 Aurora Awards.

He is the founder of Alchemical Press and is always on the lookout for literary oddities.

  • Portrait of Spencer Duncanson.
  • Spencer Duncanson
    Performing arts

Additional information

A member of ACTRA, Spencer Duncanson holds a masters of education in curriculum/arts education and a post baccalaureate certificate in school counseling from the University of Manitoba.

He earned his bachelor of arts degree in psychology and music education from Brooklyn College in New York and studied vocal performance at the University of Nevada, Reno.

He is the founder of the Little Opera Company, a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to the production of operatic entertainment of high quality and broad accessibility. The organization also serves as a venue for local artists to profile and promote their talents.

As an arts educator and performer, as well as an operatic singer, Duncanson has experience in film and stage as a narrator and actor.

He coordinated fine art, band, choral music, dance, and drama programs for Sisler High School as its visual and performing arts department head.

He has also served as a sessional arts instructor at the University of Manitoba and taught voice at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music & Arts.

  • Portrait of Sue Goyette.
  • Sue Goyette
    Creative writing

Additional information

Sue Goyette lives in k'jipuktuk (Halifax).

She has published eight books of poems and a novel. Her forthcoming collection, Monoculture, will be published by Gaspereau Press in fall 2022.

Her writing has been nominated for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award and has won several awards including the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award for her collection, Ocean.

Goyette teaches in the creative writing program at Dalhousie University and is Halifax’s current poet laureate.

  • Portrait of Gregory Hay.
  • Gregory Hay
    Symphony and music

Additional information

Greg Hay has performed and toured with several Quebec-based ensembles including Les Violons du Roy, Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Québec and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

A native of Brandon, Manitoba, Hay completed his bachelor of music at Brandon university in 1999 and his master of music at McGill University in 2001.

In 2006, Hay and his wife, pianist Donna Laube, moved to Winnipeg where he currently plays in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and maintains a private teaching studio.

Hay recently joined the Faculty of Music at Brandon university as a sessional instructor.

When he’s not performing on the viola, Hay enjoys spending his time cross-country skiing and playing bluegrass music.

  • Portrait of Leif Norman.
  • Leif Norman

Additional information

Leif Norman wanted to be a high school chemistry teacher, but then discovered that education was more than just teaching kids; things were complicated. Luckily, he was still attempting to be a photographer through doing his chemistry degree at the University of Winnipeg, and people continued to hire him to shoot festivals, portraits, and various events.

He now puts his chemical knowledge to good use by experimenting with photographic processes from the 19th century, such as cyanotypes, salt prints, and calotypes. These are fun and artistic but don’t pay the bills, which is why he continues to be a useful commercial and event photographer for the Fringe Festival, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Cluster Festival, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Theatre Projects Manitoba, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, ft3 architects, Winnipeg’s city hall and many more cultural institutions and businesses around Winnipeg.

He won’t shoot weddings, but he will show up to the party.

Norman considers himself a Renaissance man, and since he was already a cab driver, carnival worker, dish washer in Gimli, paperboy, MacBook repairman, performance poet, and voice actor he figured he could also try to do interviews as good as Peter Gzowski.

  • Portrait of Maurice Mireau.
  • Maurice Mierau
    Narrative medicine, writing coaching, and editing

Additional information

Born in Indiana, Maurice Mierau grew up in Nigeria, Manitoba, Jamaica, Kansas, and Saskatchewan.

He holds a master’s in English literature and in 2019 attended a Columbia University seminar on narrative medicine.

Mierau’s last book was a monograph, How Mind and Body Move: The Poetry of Patrick Friesen. His memoir, Detachment, won the KOBZAR™ Book Award, as well as the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction. His poetry collections include autobiographical fictions, Fear Not, winner of the ReLit Award in 2009, and Ending with Music, published by Brick Books in 2002.

Mierau is the founding editor of the Canadian fiction imprint Enfield & Wizenty, and of the online magazine Winnipeg Review.

Mierau has worked extensively in the Max Rady College of Medicine with a variety of learner groups.

Contact us

Dr. Susan Wingert
Program steward
Alan Klass Program in Health Humanities