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Megan Cole Glass Menagerie Megan Cole WitPhoto by Chris Bennion

“Her gifts are extraordinary: she is able to transform an auditorium of restless students to a group of engaged learners as easily as she commands a presence on stage.  Megan’s in-sights and unique gifts have the power to help change health care from a frequently impersonal, relationally impoverished system to one where each human is cared for individually.”

Gwen Sherwood, Ph.D, FN, FAAN
Professor and Associate Dean
School of Nursing
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Doctors & Nurses are saying:  
“Not often does a course this fantastic present itself.  I was skeptical at first about the value of poetry in the healthcare setting, but by reading and discussing these stories I have improved the care I will give in the future a very great deal.”

“Thanks, Megan, for the work you are doing at UT-H. Being able to make human connections and to mediate between two sometimes very different perspectives is one of the critical tasks of medicine, and I applaud your approach in this regard.”

Dr. Paul Haidet
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

Megan Cole Headshot

Megan Cole always thought she’d be a professional musician, either a flutist or pianist.  Her older sister, Dorothy Cole, had been a magnificent opera singer and her father a fine non-professional singer, though too shy for a performing career.  But then at Lawrence University, from which she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, she wandered one day into the Theater department, where she found an antidote for her own shyness.  The classical stage became her life-long career, attended in recent years by occasional forays into television guest roles.
The most important role of her stage career was that of Vivian Bearing in Margaret Edson’s glorious play Wit.  In 2000, after performing the play (in a third production) at Houston’s Alley Theater, Megan, at the request of the directors of University of Texas/Houston Health Science Center, began to develop a course that proposed applying various skills from the profession of theater to the practice of medicine.  And so “Becoming An Empathic Physician” was born. The course is about ways of looking beyond the patient’s condition to see the person inside, and about knowing how important that is for the patient’s recovery.  It is about finding a balance that allows the caregiver to engage with the patient without becoming personally lost.  And it is about becoming aware of being aware, in healthcare as in the larger world.
Creating this course led Megan to work in other areas of healthcare education: the history of medicine, the arts and medicine, the uses of spirituality in medicine, the role of compassion in nursing, doctoring, social work, and the care of the soul.  And, most significantly, she developed her dramatized lecture version of the play Wit - entitled The Wisdom of "Wit". So while she continues her stage and screen work, Megan Cole continues also to explore the ways in which patient care and end-of-life care can benefit from a deepened sense of skilled compassion.  And as if in validation, her alma mater, Lawrence University, presented Megan with the 2009 George B. Walter ’36 Service to Society Award.  The commendation says in part:  “You have shared your passion for communication, empathy, and the connection between health care, the arts, and the human spirit.  Your talent – and your heart – have enriched us all.”
About Megan Banner

Link to The Wisdom of Wit page
Lectures & Rollovers
Link to Stage & Screen page
Link to About Megan page
Link to Contact page