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Medical News & Perspectives
April 7, 1999

Passion for Poetry, Compassion for Others

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999American Medical Association

JAMA. 1999;281(13):1159-1161. doi:10.1001/jama.281.13.1159-JMN0407-3-1

The right poem at the right moment has a power that can change one's perspective on life," says poet Davi Walders. Motivated by this conviction, she brings poetry into the lives of the parents and guardians of children with life-threatening illnesses who are receiving treatment at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Since 1995 Walders has been conducting a poetry program called Vital Signs with Lori Wiener, PhD, coordinator of the Pediatric HIV Psychosocial Support Programs of NIH's National Cancer Institute. In weekly poetry sessions, participants read and write poems that help them express what they are going through.