College of

Humanism in Medicine Conference

Reflection | Creativity

Join us for a day of remarkable “TED-style” speaker sessions, guided meditation and yoga, unique workshops, a physician panel, and optional service activity.

Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Please wear casual, comfortable clothing.

Sign up before February 18, 2019

  • Students ($10)
  • Residents/Fellows/Staff ($25)
  • Faculty ($50)

See highlights from the 2018 conference

Saturday, February 23
8 AM - 4:30 PM
MSU College of Human Medicine Secchia Center

For more information about the conference, contact Melissa Kacos


  • Registration and Breakfast
  • Welcome
  • Keynote Speaker: Claudia Finkelstein, MD
  • Break
  • Breakout Session #1:
    More about sessions and speakers
    • Yoga with AM Yoga 
    • Writing Workshop with MSU Writing Center 
    • Art Workshop with Detroit Institute of Arts 
    • Meditation with Claudia Finkelstein, MD 
    • Music Workshop with Diane McElfish Helle
  • Break
  • Breakout Session #2:
    More about sessions and speakers
    • Yoga with AM Yoga 
    • Writing Workshop with MSU Writing Center
    • Art Workshop with Detroit Institute of Arts 
    • Meditation with Claudia Finkelstein, MD 
    • Music Workshop with Diane McElfish Helle
  • Lunch
  • Physician Panel
    More about speakers
    • Janet Osuch, MD, MS, MSU College of Human Medicine, Surgery and Epidemiology, 2018 retiree 
    • Deanna Mitchell, MD, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology 
    • Omari Young, MD, Hurley Medical Center, Obstetrics and Gynecology 
  • Personal Reflections, Discussion, Wrap-Up
  • Optional Service Projects with 20 Liters, Junior Achievement, and Make-A-Wish Foundation


This event is possible with support from the following sponsors:

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Department of Pediatrics and Human Development

Department of Psychiatry

Department of Family Medicine

Department of Emergency Medicine

Office of Student Affairs and Services

Spectrum Health

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Gold Humanism Honor Society logo

About the breakout sessions

Visual Thinking Strategies
Health Care Partners with Detroit Institute of Arts
Participants will be introduced to a questioning strategy that uses works of art to stimulate guided discussion with a trained Detroit Institute of Art facilitator. The goal of this session is to demonstrate how reflection on art can improve critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills; and to consider how these skills will transfer to the field of medicine.

Guided Mindful Self-Compassion Meditation 
Dr. Claudia Finkelstein and Dr. Ajay Khilanani
The session will consist of a brief explanation followed by a guided practice which will focus on mindfulness, self-kindness, and common humanity, to reaffirm compassion and kindness to others and self.

The Power of Music to Affect Body, Heart and Mind
Diane McElfish Helle
Participants will explore the physical, emotional and mental effects of music in an interactive setting. The exploratory session will include musical memory games, discussion and analysis of subjective character and affect while listening to music, and practical guides for observing physical response to music.

Reflective Writing
Michigan State University Writing Center
Participants will discuss the role of reflective writing in medicine; have an opportunity to practice a brief reflective writing exercise; and share their work with others, if desired.

AM Yoga
Vinyasa unites your breath with physical movement to create a state of flow that supports you in raising your vitality, power and clarity, and will empower you to be more confident and at ease. It is the skill to learning how to ease your mind and strengthen your body.

About the Speakers

Deanna Mitchell, MD, has been a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for the past 25 years.  She is the principal investigator for a number of clinical trials through the Beat Childhood Cancer Consortium.  She has an interest in social justice and humanism in medicine.  She has volunteered with medical teams traveling to Nicaragua a number of times and to Cuba three times.  She has volunteered with the Kids Health for Haiti and traveled with 10 first year medical students to Haiti in 2018.  Dr. Mitchell has also been an advocate for education and action regarding gun violence and its impact on children, adolescents and young adults.  She has spoken to groups and given Pediatric Grand Rounds on this topic.  She has also hosted speakers from Michigan Immigration Center to educate and advise how individuals can support immigrants separated from children.  Dr. Mitchell strongly values her family and spiritual development and growth.  She continues a close therapeutic relationship through hospice and end of life care.

Julie Phillips, MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Sparrow-MSU Family Medicine Residency Program and the Assistant Dean for Student Career and Professional Development at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Dr. Phillips grew up in Westland, Michigan, and graduated from Albion College. She received her medical degree and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan, and completed her residency training in Family Medicine at the same institution in 2007.

Dr. Phillips’ professional interests include medical student professional development, social mission-driven medical education, medical humanities, and development of the primary care physician workforce. At the MSU-Sparrow Family Medicine Residency Program in Lansing, she practices full-spectrum Family Medicine, leads the Community Medicine curriculum, and serves as the program’s Research Director. She is also a national expert on the impact of undergraduate medical education on medical students’ career choices and the primary care physician workforce. She holds national leadership positions in the North American Primary Care Research Group and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. She also serves on the editorial board of Family Medicine and as an Associate Editor for PRIMER. She loves mentoring and teaching medical students and residents, and is proud to be the faculty advisor for the Gold Humanism Honor Society at MSU-CHM. When she is not working, Dr. Phillips enjoys parenting, reading and writing poetry, biking, knitting, swimming, cooking, participating in her local church, and spending time with her family and friends.

Ajay Khilanani, MD, is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. He serves as Medical Director for Digital Health at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and as a pediatric intensivist. He has a long-term interest in Humanism in Medicine and has served as Course Director for the Pediatric Bedside Medicine at MSU College of Human Medicine. He has worked with TedMed as a Frontline Scholar and Research Scholar. His active global health projects and partnerships in India, Nepal, and Myanmar remain centered on clinical care, physician education, and development of long- term and self-sustaining projects. He has been exposed to eastern spirituality since childhood, and continues to practice meditation on a regular basis.

Omari J. Young, MD, is a faculty physician with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, MI. He also serves as Assistant Program Director for the Residency Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Assistant Professor in the MSU College of Human Medicine.  His clinical interest and expertise include health care disparities, minimally invasive surgery, surgical training/simulation, management of pelvic pain/endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. 

Janet Osuch MD, MS, is professor emeritus of Surgery and Epidemiology at MSUCHM, retiring in 2018. She graduated from CHM in 1979 and from a General Surgery residency and a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at Northwestern University in Chicago in 1985. Her practice in the Department of Surgery at MSU focused on diseases of the breast and breast cancer. Her surgical career was curtailed when she was diagnosed with a vestibular schwannoma in 1998 which required a craniotomy and extensive rehabilitation. This life event at age 50 taught her much about resilience in the face of adversity and the importance of self-care in the medical world. She transitioned by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology in 2000 and became the Assistant Dean of Preclinical Curriculum at CHM in 2006, a position that she embraced and held for 11 years before retiring. She is extensively published and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.