faculty

Rachel Adams, Ph.D is a writer and Professor of English and American Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of numerous academic articles and book reviews, as well as three books. Her most recent is Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery, published by Yale University Press. She is also the author of Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination and Continental Divides: Remapping the Cultures of North America (both published by the University of Chicago Press). Her writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon,and the Times of London. She also blogs for Huffington Post

Chris Adrian, M.D., M.Div., M.F.A. has written three novels: Gob's Grief, The Children's Hospital, and The Great Night. In 2008, he published A Better Angel, a collection of short stories. His short fiction has also appeared in The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, McSweeney's, The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and Story. He was one of 11 fiction writers to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009. He received his M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2001, and completed a pediatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco. He received a Master of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, and is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, and Stem Cell Transplantation faculty at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.


Joanne M. Braxton, Ph.D. serves as Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of English and the Humanities at the College of William and Mary. Braxton is also adjunct Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she co-teaches CMEs and Grand Rounds with medical colleagues. With a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University, Braxton has been a senior Fulbright Professor teaching doctoral seminars in African American Literature in Germany, France and Spain. She is the author or editor of several scholarly works, including Black Women Writing Autobiography: A Tradition Within a Tradition, and The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar. As the poet and playwright Jodi Braxton, she has published an abundance of poetry and essays in journals and little magazines, as well as a collection of her own poetry, Sometimes I Think of Maryland, and authored the play, Crossing a Deep River: A Ritual Drama in Three Movements. With an M.T.S. from the Pacific School of Religion and an M.Div. from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Braxton has lectured on trauma and healing in the works of Toni Morrison at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California and accompanied a group of American seminarians on an immersion pilgrimage to Turkey in celebration of the poet Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, serving as their writing coach and spiritual advisor. Joanne, who is president of the Braxton Institute for Human Sustainability Resiliency and Joy, a non-profit founded with a group of her former students, has also had experience leading chaplains and clergy in developing narrative and liturgical skills for addressing the needs of returning veterans in collaboration with the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth, Texas. Braxton has recently been appointed 2016-17 David M. Larson Fellow in Spirituality and Health at the United States Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center for her project “Religion, Spirituality and Health in the African American Experience.” She is married and the mother of one adult child.

Ricky Byrd is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. He has played with Roger Daltrey, Ian Hunter, Southside Johnny, and his solo CD, Lifer, was released in 2013. Ricky has been sober for 28 years, and started Ricky Byrd's Clean Getaway, an organization to raise money to help addicts and alcoholics get the treatment when insurance is not available.

Bryan Doerries is a writer, director, translator, and the founder of Theater of War, a project that presents readings of ancient Greek plays to service members, veterans, caregivers, and families to help them initiate conversations about the visible and invisible wounds of war. He is also the co-founder of Outside the Wire, a social impact company that uses theater and a variety of other media to address pressing public health and social issues, such as combat-related psychological injury, end-of-life care, prison reform, domestic violence, political violence, recovery from natural and man-made disasters, and the destigmatization of addiction. A self-described evangelist for classical literature and its relevance to our lives today, Doerries uses age-old approaches to help individuals and communities heal from suffering and loss. His book, The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in September, along with a volume of his translations of ancient Greek tragedies, entitled All That You've Seen Here is God.

Paul Lazar’s film career includes roles in Silence of the Lambs, Mickey Blue Eyes, Lorenzo's Oil, Philadelphia, The Host and Snowpiercer as well as numerous other films and television shows. Paul founded Big Dance Theater in 1991 with Annie-B Parson. His work with the company includes conceiving, directing and/or performing in such works as Triple Feature (BAM), Supernatural Wife (BAM), Comme Toujours Here I Stand (The Kitchen), PLAN B, Mac Wellman’s Antigone, Another Telepathic Thing, Shunkin, , Mac Wellman’s Girl Gone, Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart, Odon von Horvath’s Don Juan Returns from the Warand Fassbinder’s Bremen Freedom. He received a BESSIE in 2002. As an Associate Member of the Wooster Group Mr. Lazar has appeared in The Wooster Group’s North Atlantic, Brace Up!, Emperor Jones and The Hairy Ape. Other acting credits include “Tamburlaine” directed by Sir Michael Boyd, “The Three Sisters” directed by Austin Pendleton, Marie Irene Fornes' Mudd, Richard Maxwell's Cowboys and Indians, Young Jean Lee’s “Lear”, “The False Servant” and "Richard The Third" directed by Brian Kulick. Paul directed Young Jean Lee’s “We’re Gonna Die” which will be reprised in London this summer featuring David Byrne. Other directing credits include “Bodycast” with Fran McDormand (BAM), Christina Masciotti’s “Social Security” (Bushwick Starr) “Major Bang” (for The Foundry Theatre) at Saint Ann’s Warehouse. He is an instructor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has taught Acting, Direting or Theatre History at SUNY/Purchase, Rutgers University, The Bill Esper Studio and The Michael Howard Studio. This Fall (2015) he will be teaching at Yale College.

David Leventhal was a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1997-2010. During that time, he appeared in more than 40 of Mark Morris' dances, and performed principal roles in The Hard Nut, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, and Prokofiev'sRomeo and Juliet, on Motifs of Shakespeare. He received a 2010 Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for his performance career with MMDG. He has taught technique and repertory classes for students of all ages at schools and universities in the U.S. and abroad, including UCLA, University of Michigan, Harvard University, The Juilliard School, University of Washington, University of Illinois, American Dance Festival and the Governor's School for the Arts (Virginia) among others. David is Program Director and one of the founding teachers of MMDG's Dance for PD program, a collaboration with the Brooklyn Parkinson Group that offers weekly classes for people with Parkinson's at the Mark Morris Dance Center, fosters similar classes in more than 100 communities in nine countries around the world, and presents regular training workshops for teachers interested in leading Dance for PD classes. He is the co-recipient of the 2013 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award for his efforts to make the Dance for PD program widely available. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Arts and Health. Raised in Newton, Mass., he trained at Boston Ballet School and attended Brown University where he received a B.A. in English Literature.

Jase Miles-Perez is Co-Founder & Head of Development for 11B Productions, a film development and finance company based in New York and California. His work focuses on the ability of new technologies to tell stories under-represented in mainstream media. He holds a Master of Science in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University, and serves as a teacher to the Narrative Medicine Department of Columbia Medical Center, and City College of New York.

Pamela Quinn is a professional dancer who has had Parkinson’s disease for twenty years. The experience of the disease combined with the keen knowledge of the body that comes with dance training puts her in a unique position to imagine, analyze and feel the effects of PD and its potential therapies. Using this background, she has created innovative techniques to help others manage their physical challenges. Her approach includes a combination of cuing systems, music, dance, athletic drills and strategies to exploit the physical environment, all of which give people concrete tools to improve mobility. Her work has been presented at two World Parkinson Congresses and at neurology conferences, medical institutions and universities throughout the United States. Her videos have won numerous awards and her writing has appeared in Neurology Now, Dance Magazine and On the Move. She has collaborated with David Leventhal on a number of projects, notably presentations for the Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University and at Brown University’s ASaP program. Quinn teaches regularly for NYU’s Edmond J. Safra Parkinson program, for the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and she sees clients privately in NYC.

Benjamin Schwartz, M.D. is an instructor in the Dept of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a Staff Cartoonist for the New Yorker.

David Small, M.F.A. was born and raised in Detroit, and received his MFA from Yale. His drawings have appeared regularly in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and his children’s books have been translated into several languages, and made into animated films and musicals. He is a 3-time Caldecott winner for The Gardener with Sarah Stewart, One Cool Friend with Toni Buzzeo, and So You Want to be President? with Judith St. George; a 2-time recipient of the Christopher Medal; as well as a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner. To date he has illustrated over 40 picture books. David’s graphic memoir, Stitches, about his problematic youth, was a New York Times Bestseller and was a finalist for a National Book Award.

Betsy Sparrow, Ph.D  Since the publication of her article The Google Effect: Consequences of Having Information at our Fingertips (Science, 2011), Betsy has been asking questions about what we are likely to remember when we look up information online. When are we most critical in our evaluation of what we learn online? Under what type of learning situations are we most likely to make creative leaps? Her work has gained her a reputation in academia as one of the important voices in research on the intersection of human cognition and technology She has written a review of the subject for two prestigious journals, and has gained considerable media attention (PBS, MSNBC, BBC, ABC News, the Colbert Report, plus all major international newsprint publications). Her work has drawn the interest of many corporations (Masie’s Learning, Shell, Humera) where she has given keynote addresses and led breakout sessions with people involved with corporate learning and internet technology creation. Betsy received her Ph.D in social psychology from Harvard University.