The Walking Gallery of Healthcare

The Walking Gallery is a walking wall of individuals who wear personal patient narrative paintings on their backs. They are attending medical conferences where often there isn’t a patient speaker on the dais or in the audience. They are providing a patient voice, and by doing so, are changing the conversation. While creating national health policy medical professionals and government officials are often more reliant on aggregate data sets, bar charts, graphs and statistics, rather than the whole picture of care, the personal patient narrative and the individual human face.

The Walking Gallery movement hopes to diversify the source content that is used to create the foundation for patient centered care policy, by infusing art imagery depicting a unique patient history or personal story.

An artist or artists will interview medical professionals and lay individuals to form a patient centric narrative. The artist will then create representational imagery and paint that picture story upon the business jacket of the provider of the narrative account. The provider of the patient story aka “Walker” will wear the jacket to medical conferences and events in order to disseminate the patient story to a large group of policy minded attendees and to represent the individual patient [...] continue the story

Stephanie’s Story

By Stephanie Paseornek

When I was a child, I used to sit in my room and write for hours. In my notebook, I was anywhere and everywhere. Soaring above my eight-year-old body, I found a place for myself – a place amongst words. Writing gave me wings. It made me feel free.

When I was sixteen years old, I unexpectedly went through severe heart failure. After waking up from a month-long induced coma, my UCLA doctors told me that in order to survive, I would need a heart transplant. I was stuck in a room with four blinding white walls, tethered to machines on full life support. In the process of suffering, with death just around the bend, I made the conscious choice to continue. I asked my parents if there was any way I could write. I knew in order to find strength I needed the tools to soar above my sixteen year old body, and I needed words to set me free.

My time spent in the hospital was a time spent between life and death. All of my organs failed and my parents were told to “prepare for the worst” every day for months. During this time, my brain drifted [...] continue the story

Re-imagining my disease…

I like to make up stories to comfort myself. Today’s pretend is that I share the same soul with a warrior nun in fantasy Shogun dimension. When I feel like my hand is being stabbed, it’s because she’s battling in her epic quest to save her world from evil. Something in the universe just got our nervous systems crossed, and that’s how she’s able to survive where others wouldn’t. I wish her well!

One of the most important things I have learned over the course of my disease is that there’s no use making excuses. People can’t see my illness, so they don’t understand what I’m going through. My disease makes me unreliable, lazy, upset, and distracted. My experience is debilitating pain, fatigue, anxiety and despair about what I’m going through, and preoccupation with managing my symptoms. But that doesn’t change what it looks like from the outside. I could say it’s not my fault, which is absolutely true, but that just looks like whining and excuses.

I have another option, though. I can OWN it. Yeah, I have to sit a lot. Yeah, I stroll along the sidewalk. Yes, I’m a princess and will ask for the comfortable chair from you. [...] continue the story