Suffering and the Nature of Healing” Summer Course Concludes

17–28 June 2013 • On–Campus • Summer Program

Suffering and the Nature of Healing (photos: L. Osburn)Suffering and the Nature of Healing (photos: L. Osburn)Order Dr. Hinshaw's new SVS Press bookThe HinshawsThe Hinshaws

Dr. Daniel Hinshaw, visiting professor of Palliative Care at St. Vladimir's Seminary, wrapped up his two week summer course titled "Suffering and the Nature of Healing," with a discussion of the Orthodox Christian understanding and teaching regarding sin, suffering, and death. "Feebleness, sickness and pain bring out the character of people," he noted. "For Christians, suffering and death are an opportunity for kenosis, the emptying of ourselves." Much of this same material is covered in Dr. Hinshaw's new SVS Press release, also titled Suffering and the Nature
of Healing

In the first week, the class learned about the nature of suffering and the role of the health care provider, while in week two they explored the deeper possibilities for healing, even in the context of death. Informal afternoon seminars complemented the morning classes; students viewed and discussed the theme of suffering in film, music, and literature. Dr. Jane (Carnahan) Hinshaw, a Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Health System and staff psychiatrist at the Mental Health Clinic at Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center, added input and helped guide the discussions.

"I wanted to challenge the students to think about how Orthodox Christianity can more effectively interface with secular health care," noted Dr. Hinshaw. As a physician, Dr. Hinshaw believes there are areas where modern health care practices intersect with traditional Christianity and the Church's understanding of health, but also important ways in which today's practices diverge from Orthodox teaching, and he encouraged the class to discern between the two.

"The value of a course like this is measured not only in the readings and assignments," noted Seminarian Ian Abodeely (course participant), "but also in the sharing of the incredible experiences that Dan and Jane have gone through in their lives as doctors and Orthodox Christians...all the readings of the course were expertly crafted to provide us with a new perspective." (Read more student feedback here.)

As a Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School, Dr. Hinshaw provides outpatient palliative care services at the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center. His clinical research interests are focused on end–of–life issues and the use of complementary medicine in the relief of pain. Drs. Daniel and Jane Hinshaw have both committed their lives to studying and offering palliative and hospice care not only in the U.S. but also in Romania, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

Read about the Hinshaws' 2011 seminar at SVOTS, "Spiritual Issues in Suffering and Palliative Care."