Stuart Pimsler ’78 is using his creative skills in the arts to help caregivers stay healthy.
Pimsler is the artistic co-director of Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, a performance company in Minneapolis that he founded in 1979. He also holds a law degree from Catholic University.
To help caregivers in the health care field, Pimsler authored The Choreography of Care: Engaging Caregivers in Creative Expression. The book was published in 2021 by Harp Publishing in Nova Scotia, which specializes in art-medicine books.
Pimsler’s 126-page book aims to show how art can heal the caregiver. It details “specific movement, theater, writing, visual art, and vocal exercises, and directed improvisations for invigorating the practices of healers,” as well as tips for keeping them healthy.
In an interview, Pimsler said his efforts were especially important during the worst times of the COVID-19 pandemic, when caregivers experienced more than just the considerable burden of caring for their patients.
“What we were hearing from the caregivers was how they were now being stressed by their colleagues,” he said. “I think in some ways it seemed like the debilitation of witnessing their own colleague’s struggles, including overmedication and suicide, “was more debilitating than their day-to-day work with their patients.”
At the same time, Pimsler is reaching out to medical students, hoping to preserve and strengthen their compassion for patients as they enter the field.
“In those instances, what we often focus on is their empathic capacities—that is, what is it that they’re bringing to their practice that will provide them, beyond the science, to allow them to connect with their patients so that their patients will begin to feel the humanity of the people that they’re entrusting to care for them.”
At the heart of the book, Pimsler wrote in the introduction, “is the firm belief, supported by 25 years of research and experience, that art has the power to heal the very community entrusted with the public’s health.”