Contributors: 6th Symposium on Poetry and Medicine and 2015 Hippocrates Awards

Dr Cathy Bailey is a Senior Research Fellow in international ageing – Cathy’s clinical background is nursing, she is a social geographer with an interest in person- environment fit and working within public health, she carries out social and ethnographic research in falls, dementia and technologically enabled, independent living. Cathy has developed life space mapping tools, co -produced theatre performances to share research findings and is a visual methodologist ethics specialist. She has published HCI, sociological, health and  human geography focused papers and book chapters, is a member of the British Society of Gerontology and the British Sociological Association and peer reviews Research Council and Government funding applications (ESPRC, ESRC, NHS Wales).


Ms Giskin Day trained as a botanist in South Africa before falling in love with a British species and moving to London. After five years at the Science Museum she moved next door to Imperial College London. She coordinates some 30 College-wide courses in the humanities and teaches science communication and medical humanities. Giskin is an unofficial ambassador for the humanities in the Medical School and frequently is called upon to suggest resuscitation techniques for lifeless teaching workshops. She completed an MSc in Science Communication and an MA in Literature and Medicine from King's College, and might soon embark on a PhD on the rhetoric of gratitude in healthcare. She is possibly the only person to have themed her application for senior fellowship of the Higher Education Academy around medical poetry. Giskin recently discovered that Imperial is awarding her a President’s medal for outstanding contribution to teaching excellence, about which she is disproportionately thrilled.

Wendy French

Wendy French developed healthy heart poems within the Healthy Heart Awards founded by the Healthy Heart charity the CVRT. She is currently Poet in Residence at the Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College Hospital, London. Wendy was head of the Maudsley and Bethlem Hospital School for fifteen years and now works with people with aphasia/dysphasia, helping them to recover their use of language through poetry. She also facilitates writing in other healthcare settings. She has won prizes in international competitions, including first prize in the NHS category of the Hippocrates Prize in 2010 and second prize in 2011. She co-authored Born in the NHS with poet Jane Kirwan, published by the Hippocrates Press in 2013. More about Wendy French.

Rebecca Goss

Rebecca Goss grew up in Suffolk. She returned to live in the county in 2013, after living in Liverpool for twenty years. Her first collection The Anatomy of Structures was published by Flambard Press in 2010. Her second collection, Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House), was shortlisted for The 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection and winner of the Poetry Category in The 2013 East Anglian Book Awards. In 2014 she was selected for The Poetry Book Society's Next Generation Poets. Photo by Rosie Bennett. 

Gascho portrait

Joseph Gascho is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine and Humanities at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine. He is a photographer and poet, and is interested in the connection between image and word. He has published poems and image-poems (poems about his patients or about sonographic studies he reads, accompanied by patient portraits or sonographic images) in various medical journals including  Annals of Internal Medicine, the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Journal of Medical Humanities. His photography and his poetry/image work have been displayed as one person exhibitions.

Michael Hulse

Michael Hulse has won numerous awards for his poetry, and has translated more than sixty books from the German, among them works by W. G. Sebald, Goethe and Rilke. His collection of poetry, The Secret History (Arc, 2009), and the co-edited anthology The Twentieth Century in Poetry (Ebury, 2011), brought him invitations to read and talk in Mexico, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries. He is a permanent judge of the Günter Grass Foundation’s Albatross Prize, a literary award similar to Britain’s Man Booker International. With J. M. Coetzee and Susanna Moore, is an ambassador for Adelaide Writers’ Week. His latest book of poems, Half-Life, was published by Arc in August 2013.

Romi Reading

Romi Jones is a prose writer with several years experience of combining creative writing with community involvement to enable individuals and groups to express their dreams and frustrations.   In 2014, Romi was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to travel to USA/Canada to study creative writing with people with dementia and its connection with the development of dementia friendly communities. As writer-in-residence with NHS Dementia Services in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, she produced the pamphlet ‘Words from the Wise.’ In 2012,  she was commissioned by  New Writing North (NWN)  to write a series of six flash fiction, Dementia Dilemmas, inspired by working  with older people in an Alzheimer’s Society Day Centre. She has recently worked with student nurses using a creative writing approach to reflective practice, as part of Northumbria University’s Dementia Friendly Community.  Romi has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University and a NWN ’Northern Promise Award’. Her short stories have been published by Bloomsbury and Biscuit Books. Romi is currently revising her first novel, Disquiet Corners, which was short-listed for two unpublished novel awards, and writing the first draft of a second  novel ‘The Boy in the Beach Hut’.  She lives in a field close to the spectacular Northumberland coastline.   

Femi Oyebode is Professor of Psychiatry University of Birmingham & Consultant  Psychiatrist National Centre for Mental Health Birmingham. His research interests include clinical psychopathology and medical humanities. His publications include Sims’ Symptoms in the Mind: textbook of descriptive psychopathology 5th edition (translated into Italian, Portuguese and Estonian); Mindreadings: literature and psychiatry; & Madness at the Theatre

He is a poet and his published works include Naked to your softness and other dreamsForest of transformationsMaster of the leopard huntIndigo, camwood and mahogany red; & Femi Oyebode: Selected poems (edited O. Okome). For a critical review of his poetry see Home and exile in Femi Oyebode’s poetry (edited Obododimma Oha).

Simon Rae

Simon Rae is a poet, biographer, broadcaster, playwright and novelist. He presented Poetry Please! on Radio 4 for many years and wrote rude poems about politicians for the Guardian newspaper for even longer. In 1999 he won the National Poetry Competition after twice coming runner-up. His collection, Gift Horses, was published in 2006. More recently he has written three novels for younger readers, UnplayableKeras and Medusa’s Butterfly, and his first detective story, Bodyline, comes out in spring 2015. 

Donald UCg

Donald Singer is a clinical pharmacologist interested in cardiovascular prevention and treatment, medicines and patient safety, and public understanding of health. He co-authors Pocket Prescriber, a guide to safe and effective prescribing, the 8th edition of which is published by Taylor & Francis in the summer of 2015. He is President of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine and chairs the advisory board of its journal Health Policy and Technology. He is also Secretary of the European Association of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, which supports scientific and educational exchange for over 4000 clinical pharmacologists from 34 countries. 

Ellen Storm Rupture Portrait BW 3

Dr Ellen Storm is a medical doctor training in Paediatrics and Child Health in the north-west of England. She was winner of the 2014 Hippocrates NHS Prize for Poetry and Medicine. She has a BSc in Biomedical Sciences and an MSc in Public Health. She is currently completing an MA in creative Writing at the University of Lancaster, and lives with her partner and four-year-old twin daughters in Liverpool. She tweets @drellenstorm

Henry Verrall

Henry Verrall is an amateur actor, part-time poet, and a full-time 4th year medical student at Imperial College London. He grew up first in the UK, and then in Taiwan for seven years, before finally returning to find a university course long enough to fulfil his passion for extra-curricular over-involvement. He is currently studying a medical humanities course as part of a BSc in Neuroscience and Mental Health, and is absolutely thrilled to be sharing his work and research with such an esteemed bunch.

Karen McArthy Woolf Pure

Karen McCarthy Woolf is the recipient of the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Prize and an Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral scholarship at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she is researching new ways of writing about nature in the face of climate change. Her first collection An Aviary of Small Birds, a book of elegiac poems that commemorate a baby son who died in childbirth, is an exploration of grief and loss and testament to the power of poetry as a transformative art. A Poetry Book Society recommendation and Guardian/Observer Book of the Month, it is published by Oxford Carcanet. 


For many years, John Riddington Young was the senior surgeon in North Devon. He has now retired. In addition to medicine, he has studied English Literature. His research thesis was about “Medical Ideas in Pre-Renaissance English Poetry.”

He has written a book on this subject called, “Poetry, Physick, Pestilence and Pox.”

He has written seven other books about such diverse subjects as Norwich pub, Military History, Church Architecture and two on surgery. His most controversial book on hospital management “The Hospital Revolution” was published in 2008 and was described as a highly critical exposé of the NHS management. His latest book, published in March 2015, “There’s a Nasty Cancer in the Health Service” contains over three dozen poems.

 © Hippocrates initiative 2012: