Through My Eyes

A FILM BY NIC ASKEW. MORE FILMS AT NICASKEW.COM The ability to see through the eyes of another holds the key to empathy. See in its most expansive of definitions. And empathy exists as a quality that might transform the complexion of everything.

Clive’s haunting articulation of a world experienced through the lens of paranoid schizophrenia has led me to understand in a way beyond usual description.

This is part of a Six Film Portrait Series on Schizophrenia made possible by Otsuka and Lundbeck.

More films by Nic Askew

Refocusing The Lens – The ever-judging eye

PHOTOVOICE is an engagement and empowerment strategy that uses photography as a tool for social change. It gives any group the opportunity to record, reflect on, and critique personal and community issues in a creative way.

The aim of this project is to motivate participants to be actively involved in decisions that affect their own lives, while decreasing stigma and broadening understanding of their personal struggles. The resulting exhibit, REFOCUSING THE LENS, features the work of five participants who have documented their personal experiences with mental health, eager to represent them to the outside world. The ever-judging eye, By Aidan

Artist’s Statement

When I attended the day hospital program at St. Joseph’s Hospital I would usually walk home through the High Park Zoo. I have always been extremely curious by the emu; they are a majestic flightless bird that also seems to have a lot of anger inside them. Their piercing orange eyes are what strike me the most. These menacing eyes represent how society tends to view those struggling with their mental wellness. Always judging, staring intently, with a passive aggressive attitude. Mental illness strikes many different types of people and these individuals would be better served by a society that treats [...] continue the story

The next revolution in health care? Empathy

Published on Sep 8, 2014

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Paul Rosen, MD, a pediatric rheumatologist, serves as the Clinical Director of Service and Operational Excellence at Nemours. He received a masters of public health degree from Harvard University and a masters of medical management degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He was named ‘One of the First 100 Innovators’ by the U.S Federal Government Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Rosen’s interests include patient-physician communication, family-centered care, and the patient experience. He teaches medical students about improving the patient experience, and he serves as the faculty mentor for the physician executive leadership program for medical students at Jefferson Medical College. He is also a volunteer faculty member at University of Central Florida College of Medicine.

Health Quality Transformation 2015 – Judith John

Published on Nov 25, 2015

Judith John delivers a powerhouse presentation on transforming care by combining her patient experience with an inoperable brain tumour with that as a hospital executive to provide unique insights. Judith John’s career spans all aspects of communications, marketing and public affairs, with an extensive background in arts, culture, not-for-profit, health and social services.

Ms. John is active within the health care sector, having served as Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at the Hospital for Sick Children and as Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Mount Sinai Hospital and Foundation. She also volunteers with Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network and Mount Sinai, concentrating on the patient experience, partnerships and communications.

A patient advisor for UHN’s Partners in Care program, Ms. John is a trained Patient Partner. She is part of the Province of Ontario’s Phoenix Project on education and patient care, and works with Patients Canada. She was on the 20th anniversary awards selection committee for The Change Foundation regarding initiatives around patient and family-centred care. She also volunteers with Health Quality Ontario, and is currently working on government relations for the Council of Academic Hospitals Ontario.

Ms. John has extensive community experience, having [...] continue the story

Dignified Dying – The Story of My Father

Richard Stone tells the story of his father’s hemorrhagic stroke and his family’s difficult decision of continuing treatment or turning to palliative care. The video illustrates how our culture does not always equip us with understanding how to handle the process of death. With his story, Stone acknowledged the patient voice principle of dignity, and how this is so important when it comes to dealing with this life process.

Stone is a nationally recognized speaker on the power of storytelling and its applications in healthcare. He got his start more than 20 years ago with the creation of the StoryWork Institute, where he developed story-based training programs for team building, leadership development, and diversity training for healthcare institutions. He has worked with organizations such as Novant Health, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and MedStar Health, as well as training hospice volunteers and staff around the country through his program, “Journey Into the Healing Power of Storytelling.”

Stone has authored many books, including “The Healing Art of Storytelling,” “Stories: The Family Legacy,” and “The Kingdom of Nowt.” He is also the co-author of “The Patient Survival Handbook.” Prior to joining Synensis, he was the StoryAnalytics Master for the IDEAS Innovation team, where he [...] continue the story

Patient Capitalism

Jacqueline Novogratz founded and leads Acumen, a nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor. In her book “The Blue Sweater” she tells stories from the philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid.

What can health care charities learn from this alternative model?

It’s Fibroids, not Thyroid!

“Women’s health, aside from cancer, is not on the radar, not part of the conversation.” — Dr Nicholas Leyland, Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University If you’re a woman, you probably have fibroids — non-cancerous growths of the uterus, ranging in size from seedling to cantaloupe, that often appear during childbearing years. By age 50, as many as three out of four of women have fibroids and a third are symptomatic due to bleeding or the effect of the mass on surrounding tissue.

“It’s fibroids, not thyroid!” Actor/ESL Teacher Natasha Fiorino

Most women have fibroids, yet no one has heard of them and so when Natasha Fiorino drummed up the courage to tell her boss about why she would need some time off, it became like that telephone game we played as kids: word got around and people thought she had a thyroid problem. But Natasha’s boss understood and supported her, proving that talking about fibroids (not thyroid) works.

Fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy — the second most common surgery performed on women (after Caesarian section). Over half a million hysterectomies are performed each year in North America. One out [...] continue the story

Janine Shepherd: A broken body isn’t a broken person

Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal — until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.

Donald Trump calls it “wherever”. Meet history’s most maligned organ

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever…”

Donald Trump disparagingly refers to it as “wherever”. It’s the background of every ultrasound baby picture including those overshared by Michael Bublé on Instagram…

It’s the place where we were all implanted and spent the first, most carefree nine months of our lives, but is there a more maligned, disrespected or mistreated organ than the uterus?

The ancient Greeks who gave us democracy, tragedy and the Pythagorean theorem also came up with the wacky wandering womb. In Plato’s Timaeus, the uterus is described as a living creature that travels around the body, a uterine Randle McMurphy inciting the other organs to rebellion and generally causing mayhem, both physical and emotional.

The Greek word for uterus is hystera (ὑστέρα) which begat the diagnosis hysteria and expectant descriptions of errant behaviour–George Beard wrote a catalogue of hysterical symptoms running seventy-five pages, a list that he considered incomplete. The etymological line of causality blames the uterus for hysteria and therefore it’s no surprise that hysterectomy was a common treatment.

From ancient Greece to as recently as the 1950s, hysteria has been used as a catchall to dismiss women as frail and flighty. Today, pre-menstrual syndrome, the fearsome Rosemary’s Baby of hysteria, has taken its place. Rather than high-strung hysterical women who can’t handle the stresses of life, women in the throes of PMS are monsters of hormonal imbalance. [...] continue the story

Beyond the Dark


This Human Portrait in Film is rich beyond gold. A film of hope and light from a seemingly dark and endless place.

It starts as follows;

‘It is like a miracle. I’ve got a son back that I thought I’d lost. We’re probably closer now than we’ve ever been but it did start in a difficult place.’

This film is part of the Schizophrenia Series. Janet’s experience might offer tremendous hope to those in the dark place created by such a rabid condition.

Of course, it can be seen as metaphorical and therefore  might offer a shard of light to anyone in a seemingly dark and unfathomable place.

More films by Nic Askew