Community events planned leading up to Purdue Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium

September 25, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Several community events are planned surrounding Purdue University's Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium, titled Empathy & Ethics, including a workshop on empathy cards for cancer and a panel discussion in partnership with the YWCA.

The annual Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium is organized by Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts. Scheduled activities this fall:

* Oct. 3, 9-11 a.m. Empathy Card workshop will be led by local author and freelance writer Melissa Fraterrigo and graphic designer Chloe Brizendine at the MatchBOX Coworking Studio, 17 S. Sixth St., Lafayette. While the workshop is free and open to the public, registration is required at

* Oct. 26-Nov. 13. The Lafayette Empathy Card Project will be featured at the Fountain Gallery, 330 Main St., Lafayette. The gallery is open from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

* Nov. 12. Luncheon with ethics and medicine panel discussion, "Talking Straight and Curvy: Navigating the Doctor-Patient Relationship in Cancer Care," is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the YWCA, 605 N. Sixth St., Lafayette. To register, go to

"In addition to featuring a nationally acclaimed creative professional whose work reflects the cancer experience, this year's Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium on Empathy & Ethics once again will engage the larger Greater Lafayette community to the many dimensions of cancer and medicine," said Kris Swank, operations manager for the Oncological Sciences Center.

"By reaching out to the YWCA and the city of Lafayette's MatchBOX Coworking facility for an empathy cards workshop and panel discussion, we hope to advance the conversation surrounding cancer care and the difficulty that these questions pose for our community."

Award-winning author Dr. Barron H. Lerner, a practicing physician and professor of medicine and population health at New York University of Medicine, is the CCC keynote speaker at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. His Discovery Lecture Series talk, titled "Two Doctors, Two Generations: Medical Ethics Then and Now," is free and open to the public.

Lerner's latest book, "The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son, and the Evolution of Medical Ethics," was published in May 2014 and will be the center of his presentation. The book tells the story of two doctors, a father and a son, who practice medicine at different times and focuses on the differences in practices and ethics.

Scheduled to introduce Lerner is Emily McDowell, a cancer survivor from Los Angeles and founder of Empathy Cards: Support for Serious Illness. McDowell, a freelance writer and graphic designer, launched the line of greeting cards that blends wit, awkward truths and understanding for people battling a serious illness such as cancer.

Lead sponsors for this year's Empathy & Ethics colloquium are the College of Liberal Arts, Office of Public Affairs, Purdue Center for Cancer Research, Office of the Provost, Discovery Lecture Series, Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Purdue Libraries and the West Lafayette Public Library.

The annual Cancer Culture and Community initiative was launched by the Oncological Sciences Center and the College of Liberal Arts in 2007 to explore how the arts and literature provide an outlet of expression to people struggling with cancer.

Since then, organizers have hosted an annual colloquium featuring films, gallery exhibitions, poetry readings and lectures by nationally renowned authors, poets, filmmakers and other creative professionals. The Greater Lafayette community also has been invited to share cancer experiences through poetry, essays and art. The program also sponsored a bone marrow registry drive.

The Oncological Sciences Center, created through a Lilly Endowment gift in 2005, is the Discovery Park arm of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. It builds on existing research areas and is expanding Purdue's thrust into nanotechnology, drug delivery, and cancer care and prevention. 

Media Contact: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, 

Source: Kris Swank, Oncological Sciences Center, 765-494-4674, 

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