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Story Medicine strives to create positive experiences for children in hospitals and children living with illness or disabilities and their families through visibility and representation in uplifting storytelling.

About

Overview

Story Medicine is a Drexel University program that collaborates with students to create original entertainment content for and about children with illnesses and disabilities. The program started as a series of theatrical productions written and performed by Drexel students for children in local hospitals. Since then, it has grown into multimedia, multidisciplinary program.

 

Story Medicine is creating a television series to be broadcast throughout hospitals around the country. Program leads Nomi Eve and Milady Bridges are looking for interested partners and supporters who share their goal of making sure every child feels uplifted, represented, and joyful.

Toon style image of a young girl with forearm crutches and a child with a nasograstric (NG) tube.
Image of a child with their father in the hospital.

Background

Story Medicine began in 2016 as a creative writing and live performance course (WRIT 215) for Drexel University undergraduate students. The class met in a television studio in a local children's hospital, where they wrote and performed original plays for the residents and their families.

 

These performances provided encouraging and engaging entertainment for children and their families, while simultaneously weaving storytelling concepts into the narratives.

 

After the success of this initiative, Story Medicine’s programming expanded into other projects. We ran workshops for the hospitalized children to write and direct animated short films, design fashion accessories, and collaborated in virtual performances over theCOVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this work was to allow children with long-term hospitalizations or terminal illnesses to see their imaginative work come to life.

 

Story Medicine's innovation lies in the combination of unique interdisciplinary experiences, Drexel’s cutting edge technological resources, and hands-on creative journeys for hospitalized children and children who live with illness and disability.

Meet The Team

Nomi Eve

Portrait image of Story Medicine founder Nomi Eve

Director of MFA in Creative Writing
Department of English & Philosophy
College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University

Nomi Eve founded Drexel Story Medicine in the spring of 2015. She is the author of The Family Orchard (Knopf) which was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award as well as being a Book-of-the-Month Club main selection and Henna House (Scribners), a bookclub favorite.

 

She worked as a freelance book reviewer for The Village Voice and New York Newsday along with having her stories and essays included in many newspapers and magazines including the New York Times.

Milady Bridges

Portrait image of Story Medicine Co-Collaborator Milady Bridges

Program Director of Animation & Visual Effects
Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Drexel University

Milady Bridges brings to the classroom over a decade of professional work experience as an animation and visual effects artist for feature film, games, and globally distributed advertising campaigns.  

 

Studios she has worked for include Warner Brothers, Pixel Liberation Front, Stereo D, Psyop, and Rocket Studio.  Her feature film credits include The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger, Jurassic Park 3D, and Titanic 3D; her work in video games include projects like Forza III, Red Dead Redemption, and Sleeping Dogs; and her advertising CG animation and print work includes such clients as Mazda, Lexus, Arrowhead, and Dollar Shave Club.

Family Testimony

"On our way to our monthly all-day appointment at the hospital, we were fortunate to see something amazing happening in the lobby. Story Medicine was performing a show and we were mesmerized. My daughter and I watched the performance and then met the actors. What a fantastic program! It was incredible to have a few minutes of laughter and connection with these talented students. Hospital days are usually so hard and long, [but] for me and my 10 year old daughter this performance lifted our spirits and we had fun at the hospital! Just what the doctor ordered!"

- Gabrielle Miller (Parent)

Student Testimony

“To be an undergrad and have the ability to brighten not only a child’s experience at the hospital, but also their family's, was eye-opening. Walking out of the hospital, I had a refreshing sense of confidence in my choice of major. This course has allowed me a glimpse into my future, solidifying my desires to be a physician. What happens at the hospital withStory Medicine really is magical"

- Victoria Milano(Psychology)

Projects

PROJECTS

Story Medicine's innovation lies in combining a unique pedagogical experience for undergraduates and Drexel’s sophisticated cutting-edge technological resources with a hands-on creative journey for hospitalized children.

Story Medicine Show

The Story Medicine video series is an episodic production featuring original content written for and starring children with illnesses or disabilities.  The proposed series has a broad pedagogical reach that connects students and faculty from numerous programs within Drexel University.  Our goal is to create original video programming that can be accessed by kids at home and in hospitals anywhere, with the potential to expand to public broadcast.

This video series provides career-focused engagement and experiential learning through both curricular development and employment opportunity.  Drexel University is unique in that it requires students to obtain a minimum of 6 months' work experience prior to graduation through our cooperative (co-op) education system.  Through co-op, students are able to balance classroom theory with practical, hands-on experience.  The Story Medicine television series will offer year-round part-time work in addition to multiple co-op positions that offer students across several disciplines paid opportunities to work with faculty and industry professionals while applying their skillsets to a meaningful, real-world production.

Students and faculty from the following programs have collaborated with Story Medicine: English & Philosophy, Animation & Visual Effects, Game Design & Production, Virtual Reality & Immersive Media, Film & Television, Product Design, Dance, and Music Industry.  Collaborations with Graphic Design, Screenwriting, Television Management, Computer Science, and several student clubs are expected in the next phase of development.

To learn more about Drexel's cooperative education program, visit https://drexel.edu/academics/co-op.

College-aged student reading from a children's book in front of a green screen
two college students wearing Drexel Story Medicine t-shirts dancing in front of a red velvet curtain

Live Hospital Shows

Story Medicine originated as a community-based learning course for Drexel University undergraduates that met in a television studio at a Philadelphia hospital.  It was a one-of-a-kind course that aimed to reach hospitalized children with joyful, innovative, and child-focused programming.  Drexel students were taught how to use storytelling to initiate positive moments and memories for children and their families grappling with very serious health issues. 

   

The Story Medicine Live Hospital Show course was developed and taught by Nomi Eve of the Department of English and Philosophy.  Twice a week students performed live original half-hour plays on-camera for a show broadcast throughout the hospital. Children came down from the wards and participated in the show, thus engaging with Drexel students in a way that was spontaneous, and improvisational. These interactions provided a vehicle for children in the hospital to enter into the imaginary realm of the performance, and simultaneously allowed Drexel students to write scripts, act in front of a camera, react to changeable circumstances, and create a unique and shared creative experience with the children.   

 

Drexel Story Medicine Live Hospital Shows began in the spring of 2016 and ran to the spring of spring 2020.  Students put on approximately 20 shows per quarter for a total of approximately 260 shows over four and a half years.

 Animation Collaboration

The Drexel Story Medicine Animation Collaboration was inaugurated in the fall of 2017.  The purpose of this project was to allow children with long-term hospitalizations see their own imaginative work come to life in cutting edge animation format.  This program was piloted with four medically fragile children, with long-term hospitalizations, all identified by Child Life professionals at a Philadelphia area children’s hospital.  

 

These children worked individually with upper level Story Medicine students to develop their own original stories, story boards, live action films and 3-D immersive motion capture versions of the work.   Drexel animation students turned the motion capture material into two-minute original animated shorts.  A first-ever film festival was held at the children’s hospital to shine a spotlight on the creative work of these special patients. The animation project was repeated and expanded in the fall of 2018 and spotlighted in both radio and print local media.

illustrated book cover for the story Avi's Big Race that features a young boy seated in a flying wheelchair over a rural landscape with a running path and a finish line.
college student sewing a large blanket with huge dots of different colors

 Fashion Collaboration 

Drexel undergraduate fashion design students engaged in a fashion design partnership with a selected group of pediatric patients (ages 7-21). The goal of this project was to allow patient participants to create and realize their own designs while giving Drexel students opportunities to apply their learned skills in a real world setting while doing work with meaning, which dovetails with Drexel’s core principals of civic engagement and experiential learning. 

 

Patients were free to envision a functional garment, item or accessory of their own design for improved accessibility, practicality, or pleasure. The aim was to allow patients to participate in the complete design process from start to finish. Designers and patients shared the same information, evaluated the concepts, sketches, colors, materials and ideas and then discussed adjustments to the final product together. Fashion design students completed production of the garment, or item in the studios at the URBN Center at Drexel.  

 

Drexel Story medicine piloted this program with one long-term inpatient and one long-term outpatient identified by Child Life professionals at a Philadelphia-area children’s hospital. The collaboration launched in the fall of 2019 and ran through the winter of 2020. Patients acted as fashion designers for their own original garments, costumes, or sewn accessories (bags, blankets). Drexel fashion design students created the garments or accessories for the patients. Patients chose from a variety of clothing types or soft objects – fancy dress up clothing, everyday clothing, pajamas, adaptive clothing, costumes, wheelchair accessories, wheelchair costumes, handbags, printed fabric, etc. If the patient could imagine it, the Drexel students could make it a reality for them to use or wear. 

 Augmented Reality Playing Cards 

Drexel students worked with patients from one of our local children's hospital to create a series of augmented reality playing cards featuring unique characters and environments created by the children.  These original characters and environments were 3D modeled while characters were rigged and animated using motion capture technology.  Cards featuring each model were printed.

 

Children and students alike were delighted to see these models come to life when viewed through an augmented reality app also developed by our students.  This joint collaboration featured work from students in the English, Animation and Visual Effects, Digital Media and Virtual Production, and Game Design and Production programs.

a group of 3D computer rendered characters are posed together in a group
Donate and Support

Donate and Support

a young boy playing with a caterpillar-shaped xylophone

Our donors and supporters aid us in advancing our mission to create inclusive and imaginative stories for hospitalized children. Donors and supporters have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young patients with terminal illnesses, chronic illnesses, and long-term hospitalizations. This support also strengthens our partnerships with Drexel University and the student mentors involved.

 

We are so grateful to donors who are already supporting our work. Donor support can help us make these dreams a reality so that we can bring more imagination programming to hospitalized children. 

Our Collaborators

The logo for Ollie's Orchestra which features a cartoon monkey playing a violin
Contact
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