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Voices of Hope and Humanity

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Podcast Episode's:
Search for Well-Being, Pt4
Amid medical bureaucracy, the patient’s humanity can get lost. What are the obstacles? How is information and support conveyed to the patient? We look at some solutions. We also learn about the fascinating health benefits of common integrative techniques such as acupuncture, meditation and stress management. To see additional resources and our other programs, please […]
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Search for Well-Being, Pt3
In this segment, we visit medical students at the third largest U.S. college campus, Ohio State University in Columbus, who are committed to a greater focus on wellness. We hear their vision of health care in the future. Medical education is in transition—but not rapidly enough, according to several other reformers we’ll hear. To see […]
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Search for Well-Being, Pt2
The practice of integrative medicine has achieved high success with heart patients and is now covered by Medicare. We hear from Doctors, patients and other experts about how this practice fits into today’s healthcare landscape. To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR and PRX member-stations, in […]
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Search for Well-Being, Pt1
More than three-fourths of U.S. medical costs are attributed to largely-preventable illnesses related to our lifestyle behaviors – what we eat, whether we exercise, how we manage stress, if we smoke. Yet in most health care today, visits to the doctor are often too brief to get a handle on these complicated challenges. The focus […]
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The Rights of Civilians, Pt2
We learn about the birth of the International Criminal Court, how it operates, and how cases fall under its jurisdiction — all toward ensuring human rights for people who get caught up in the crossfire of war. To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR and PRX […]
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The Rights of Civilians, Pt1
Can the rule of law can help to limit the worst horrors of war — and hold transgressors accountable? This question may soon face Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, for whom the Hague prosecutor is seeking arrest warrants for war crimes. We also hear about the indictment of Vladimir Putin […]
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The Garden Project with Cathrine Sneed
Step inside the garden of Cathrine Sneed, a prison social worker, who has found that when inmates leave their cells and connect with nature their rate of recidivism drops. To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR and PRX member-stations, in association with GBH Boston.
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Compassionate Presence
Perhaps more than any other trait in a spiritual caregiver, recipients of care yearn for the attention of an open-hearted person who can bear witness to their challenges. But what does it mean to bring that presence into an encounter with someone who may be up against adversity?Spiritual caregiving can offer deep personal rewards to […]
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Whole Teachers – Whole Students, Pt2
In the second part of this Humankind documentary, we visit two venues where leaders are taking strides toward an enlightened educational experience for young people – and for faculty. The stories you will hear in each part are truly inspiring. But in the first case, it has meant coming to terms with, then gradually working past a […]
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Whole Teachers – Whole Students, Pt1
Faced with the deep divisions roiling America, can education that is “pro-social” provide an alternative path for healing and understanding? And can schools cultivate students’ skills for social awareness and self-reflection? To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR and PRX member-stations, in association with GBH Boston.
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Welcoming the Stranger
Several chaplains reflect in-depth on the experience of connecting with people who are facing challenges related to mental health, addiction and homelessness. We hear from a social worker, Larry Clum, who explores what it means to companion homeless people without an intent to “fix” their problem. To see additional resources and our other programs, please […]
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Lovingkindness with Sharon Salzberg
Sharon Salzberg, an author and teacher of Buddhist meditation, describes the technique of “lovingkindness,” a way of seeing others and relating to oneself that allows the practitioner to get past resentments and have a clearer view of reality. To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR and […]
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Diet-Climate Connection, Pt2
What was the carbon footprint of your dinner last night? Physician Walter Willett, who served as the long-time Nutrition Dept. chair at Harvard, describes the benefits of eco-friendly eating to your health and to the environment. And you’ll meet Olivia Calkins, Liam Reardon and Genesis Butler, youth activists for a “thriving planet”. To see additional resources and our other programs, […]
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Diet-Climate Connection, Pt1
Agriculture is a huge emitter of greenhouse gases associated with climate change. This is an important emerging topic as Americans grapple with record-breaking heatwaves, drenching rains, coastal flooding, prolonged droughts, sprawling wildfires and other weather extremes as “the face of global warming”. To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are […]
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Safe Place in a War Zone
Rev. Chris Antal, a Unitarian Universalist minister, was drawn to service in response to the attacks of 9/11. He entered military chaplaincy partially as a way to help soldiers who are prone to harming themselves in the wake of war. In this profile, Rev. Antal also explores how he was drawn to faith-based engagement with […]
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Count Your Blessings
Austrian-born author and Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast, recorded at his monastery near Corning, NY, believes that acquiring an attitude of “gratefulness” can calm the mind and give life a simple joy. To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR and PRX member-stations, in association with GBH Boston.
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Second Chances
This documentary explores the transition of a young mother from addiction treatment to a clean and sober life, with the help of a family mentoring program known as “shared family care.” To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR and PRX member-stations, in association with GBH Boston.
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Anthony Burns/Fugitive Slave
In this documentary we explore how federal courts enforced fugitive slave laws. Historians, actors and legal scholars re-create the famous case of a young escaped slave who was sent back by a Boston judge, provoking America’s largest abolitionist protest. To see additional resources and our other programs, please visit humanmedia.org . Humankind specials are  heard on NPR […]
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Steps to Recovery, Pt2
In the second half of our documentary on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, we examine the AA recovery principles that have promoted sobriety for millions of recovering alcoholics and have created a template to help people worldwide who struggle with many forms of addiction. To view additional resources for this episode please visit our website at humanmedia.org. […]
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The Medicine Garden, Pt 1
Herbal remedies: Do they work? Are they safe? In The Medicine Garden, a special series drawn from our archives, you’ll take a fascinating tour of this relatively low-cost form of health care. It’s an approach to healing that has become enormously popular among Americans dissatisfied with conventional medicine.
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Practicing Prevention with Ralph Snyderman
In this episode, we hear from physician Ralph Snyderman, MD, a proponent of preventive medicine, who believes that our health care system should place greater emphasis on preventive practices (such as healthy diet and stress management), because it is more humane to avoid disease than to cope with it, and because it is a far […]
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Constant Emergency Pt1
Have we entered an age of unrelenting chaos? As we grope for a “new normal”, has humanity reached a kind of turning point? In this timely audio documentary, you’ll hear inspiring stories of survivors. We also listen to health care providers, clergy and others who offer specific guidance to help people navigate these choppy waters. […]
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Seeds of Peace
Take a trip to a pristine spot in Maine for an afternoon spent with Palestinian and Israeli youth as they come together to play, connect, and discuss the imperiled region they struggle in eleven months out of the year. Despite the hardened conditions in which they were raised, the teenagers here reveal an innocence and […]
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Constant Emergency, Pt2
As we grope for a “new normal”, has humanity reached a kind of turning point? It feels that way — in the wake of the Covid pandemic, intensifying impacts of climate change, the war in Ukraine, mounting threats to our democracy, repeated mass shootings and so much more. In this second part of our documentary, […]
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Healing the Trauma of War, Pt1
After war, our veterans face a new battle: emotional and spiritual conflict that is normal to human beings who’ve experienced intense brutality. In this documentary, we examine the effects of military violence and how people begin the journey of healing from it. We hear deeply moving stories of veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and […]
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Books to Prisoners
The Prisoners Literature Project, an all-volunteer service based in Berkeley, California, packages and ships books to people who are incarcerated, as a humanitarian gesture and one that helps inmates prepare for re-entry into society.
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Uncommon Ground, Pt1
In the wake of shocking violence at abortion clinics, two apparent enemies — women representing pro-choice and pro-life factions in the Boston area, where shootings had occurred — were forced to communicate, for the sake of everyone’s safety. What unfolded over many months was one of the most mysterious and moving conversations among people of […]
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After-Effects of War with Christal Presley
Christal Presley, an English teacher in Virginia who experienced “secondary trauma” in response to the extreme behavior of her father, a Vietnam-era veteran with PTSD, tells how the family began a journey of recovery.
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Steps to Recovery, Pt 2
Today over two million people partake of the storytelling, the good humor, the words of wisdom and the gallons and gallons of free coffee made available to attenders of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. AA’s basic text has been translated into more than 60 languages and has sold over 35 million English copies. We consider the history […]
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Steps to Recovery, Pt 1
Alcoholics Anonymous marks its beginning when one hopelessly addicted drunk realized that connecting with a fellow-sufferer would create a safe zone in which both could stop their downward spiral. In the second half, we examine the AA recovery principles that have promoted sobriety for millions of recovering alcoholics and have created a template to help […]
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The Way of Tao, Pt 2
“At the end of the day,” says Jonathan Star about his English translation of Tao te Ching from the original Chinese, “it’s not about attaining anything.  The Tao keeps saying ‘it’s everywhere!’  It’s to notice another part of yourself that’s just overlooked.  You know, we see what the mind shows us, but there’s another dimension […]
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The Way of Tao, Pt 1
Jonathan Star took twelve years to master the nuances of ancient Chinese in his quest to produce a remarkably lucid and evocative English translation of Lao Tsu’s brilliant masterpiece of wisdom. Guidance in the subtle art of attaining mental and emotional balance pervades Star’s brilliant translation of Lao Tsu’s timeless poetic volume of Taoist philosophy […]
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The Practice of Forgiveness, Pt 2
When we nurse grudges, the person clinging to a resentment often pays a high price in anxiety, hostility, perhaps depression. What follows from that for many people, says Robin Casarjian of the Lionheart Foundation, are health-related symptoms.  “And it stops you,” she says, ‘from really being able to be fully present to yourself, and to […]
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Aging in Community, pt. 2: Participants
Within a decade, America will be looking different. In addition to other demographic changes, 70 million Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years. For the first time in our history, there will be more older adults than children. This huge societal change will affect how families provide eldercare, how older Americans access transportation, and […]
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The Practice of Forgiveness, Pt 1
Author and prison therapist Robin Casarjian reframes the act of forgiveness not to condone hurtful behavior, but as a shift in perception that allows us not to take someone’s else’s misconduct so personally. Casarjian has spent decades teaching forgiveness. Drawing on her own experience of having been abused — and learning how to move on […]
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Aging in Community, pt. 1: Connecting to Community
Within a decade, America will be looking different. In addition to other demographic changes, 70 million Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years. For the first time in our history, there will be more older adults than children. This huge societal change will affect how families provide eldercare, how older Americans access transportation, and […]
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Judicial Independence, pt. 4: Term Limits
The Constitution specifies that once federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, they can hold their office “during good behavior,” in other words for life — unless they’ve misbehaved, that is. But the average American today lives a lot longer today than in 1789, when President George Washington signed the […]
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Judicial Independence, pt. 3: Expanding the Court
The Republican party has not won the majority of votes in six of the last seven presidential elections. And yet vacancies on the Supreme Court have allowed Republican presidents to appoint six of the last ten justices. Does this skew the Court in a way that’s out of step with public opinion? Here we explore […]
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Judicial Independence, pt. 2: Politicians In Robes?
Have our courts – intended by America’s founders to be an independent arbiter of justice – turned into another political battlefield? Are today’s judges mere “politicians in robes”? This public radio documentary series looks at crucial flashpoints in recent decades. In this divisive climate, will the frequency of 5-4 decisions by the Supreme Court increase, as […]
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Judicial Independence, pt. 1: Our Divided Court
Have our courts – intended by America’s founders to be an independent arbiter of justice – turned into another political battlefield? Are today’s judges mere “politicians in robes”? This public radio documentary series looks at crucial flashpoints in recent decades. Because federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed the U.S. Senate, inevitably the process […]
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The Worry Solution with Martin Rossman
Bay Area physician and Univ. of California medical professor Martin Rossman, author of “The Worry Solution”, describes ways to distinguish between what we can change and what we must learn to accept.
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Safe Place in a War Zone
Rev. Chris Antal, a Unitarian Universalist minister in the town of Rock Tavern, New York, was drawn to service in response to the attacks of 9/11. He entered military chaplaincy partially as a way to help soldiers who are prone to harming themselves in the wake of war. He also wanted to bring a “liberal voice into a very conservative chaplaincy,” consistent with the commitment of his tradition of acceptance for people representing different faiths and sexual orientation backgrounds.
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Interfaith Understanding on Campus
This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. We hear from chaplains and students on a college campus (Vanderbilt University in Nashville, […]
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Jailhouse Chaplains
This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. The United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. Federal […]
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Welcoming the Stranger
This episode of ‘Humankind on Public Radio’ is part of a special series, ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’. For more episodes exploring the role of spiritual caregivers helping those in need, look for ‘The Spiritual Care Podcast’ on your preferred podcast platform. We visit a shelter at Seattle’s Mission for a rich exchange with a formerly […]
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Introducing the Spiritual Care Podcast
David Freudberg, host of Humankind public radio, announces a new podcast on the fascinating practice of “spiritual care”: stories of caregivers (chaplains, nurses, social workers, etc.) who provide nonsectarian support for people in need and sometimes in distress.
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Simple Relaxation Exercise
A 15-minute stress reduction session to calm the body and mind.
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Passengers, pt. 4: Taxation for Transportation
Gas taxes you pay at the pump go into a huge pool of federal transportation funds. How should the money be divided up? Plus high-speed rail, pro and con.
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Passengers, pt. 3: Cars and Carbon
What is the global warming footprint of cars vs. public transit? Story of a family seeking a low-carbon lifestyle. Also, hear the views of transportation experts, the president of AAA, and others.
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Passengers, pt. 2: The Business of Public Transit
Business people and environmentalists come together: improved public transportation helps to grow the economy, for lots of reasons. Bankers and the Sierra Club on the same side.
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Passengers, pt. 1: Going Car-Free
The story of a Virginia man who accepted his county’s “challenge” to go car-free for a month; plus voices of motorists filling up at the pump; bus riders in a low-income neighborhood and others.
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 4: Maintaining Compassion for Patients
Professors of medicine and nursing describe ways to treat the whole patient. And a look at medical use of acupuncture and meditation, for which evidence of effectiveness continues to grow.  
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 3: Doctors of the Future
With diet a factor in ailments from diabetes to obesity, medical students at the country’s third largest campus attend cooking classes to learn how to help patients. And future MDs tell how they would heal our health system.
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 2: When a Doctor Has Time to Listen
The problem of rushed medical visits, now standard nationwide, can strain both doctors and patients. The story of a Calif. woman who was misdiagnosed with MS, until a different doctor had the time to listen and discovered the error.
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The Search for Well-Being, pt. 1: Treating the Whole Person
This look at the emergence of “integrative medicine” begins with a visit to America’s busiest trauma center, in Baltimore, where patients receive both emergency care and natural treatments to soothe the challenges of serious illness.
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Catching Up with Granny D, pt. 2
A lively profile of “Granny D,” (Mrs. Doris Haddock of Dublin, New Hampshire) famous for her 14-month walk across the United States to promote campaign finance reform. (Part 2)
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Catching Up with Granny D, pt. 1
A lively profile of “Granny D,” (Mrs. Doris Haddock of Dublin, New Hampshire) famous for her 14-month walk across the United States to promote campaign finance reform. (Part 1)
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The Right to Vote, pt. 2
Hear a diversity of voices and views on today’s debates over whether voters should be required to show ID at the polls. Some Americans believe that ensures honest elections; while others see it as an unnecessary obstacle to minority voters. And we consider whether people who’ve committed felonies should be allowed to vote, after serving […]
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The Right to Vote, pt. 1
A fascinating history of the much-contested right to vote in America: from slaves freed after the Civil War, to women’s suffrage, to the civil rights movement. Included is the moving first-person story of a young woman who participated in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer project for voter registration of African Americans.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 8: Moral Injury
We hear from veterans who wrestle with healing from “moral injury” which occurs after a violation of conscience, based on events they witnessed or participated in while on military duty.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 7: Healing the Trauma of War
We hear profiles of American soldiers who, after military duty, returned home to face another battle—the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 6: Deep Listening
When we’re in a disagreement, it’s sometimes hard simply to listen to the other person. But skillful listening is a core practice of conflict resolution and, potentially, a doorway to improved relations and greater self-understanding.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 5: Seeds of Peace
A return visit to the Seeds of Peace summer camp, when teenagers from opposing sides of conflict regions, including the Middle East, arrive for amazing encounters of dialogue and fun.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 4: Unblocking our Natural Empathy
How can we avoid reacting furiously when someone provokes us? Hear a fascinating array of answers from theologian Frank Rogers, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. Betty Stookey and legendary folksinger Noel Paul Stookey, who performs.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 3: Compassion Practice
In a world given to so much brutality, it would be easy to underestimate the impact of basic human compassion in actually resolving strife, yet even in tense environments, people are transformed by gestures of understanding.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 2: The Spirituality of Nonviolence
We hear stories of peacemakers who draw from their diverse lives and religious traditions as a basis for breaking down barriers and promoting conflict resolution.
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The Power of Nonviolence, pt. 1: Soul Force
We look back on the stunning display of forgiveness and nonviolence by the grieving families and congregants of Mother Emanuel church, where a gunman murdered black worshipers. Roof was sentenced to death today by a federal jury.
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Radioactive, pt. 1
In this episode of Humankind, hear nuclear experts pro and con, an emergency room physician, and a variety of voices telling the story of a controversial reactor in Vermont. Part 1 of 2.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 4: Compassion Fatigue
This episode explores the very human level at which some nurses interact with patients at their most vulnerable moments. What spiritual questions about life and death arise in such encounters? We do nurses turn for their own support? And we look at the concept of “compassion fatigue” and ways nurses can maintain open-hearted care.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 3: The Art of Listening
How do nurses, who are exposed to continual suffering by patients, manage to keep their hearts open and maintain compassion? Nurses describe the centrality of communication with patients and the skills of “active listening.” Nurses are regenerated by the bond of caring they build with patients in need.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 2: Regaining Your Center
Inspiring stories of how active nurses use self-care techniques that help them manage, and transcend, the stresses of their essential work life, both on the job and after hours.
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Resilient Nurses, pt. 1: Facing Challenge and Change
A no-holds-barred look at the stressful conditions in which many nurses work: the long hours, the emotional toll, the rapid pace, and the way that technology and institutional practices can make it hard to form a caring bond with patients.
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