University of Nebraska Medical Center

Shining a Spotlight on Erin Torell

Erin Torell poses for a headshot

Academy Member Since 2022
Rare Book Librarian and Assistant Professor, Special Collections and Archives, McGoogan Health Sciences Library

What do you do at UNMC?
I am the rare book librarian at the McGoogan Health Sciences Library. I curate the historical book collections by purchasing books, processing donations and using preservation measures to ensure the books are around for a long time. I also engage in outreach and instruction using the materials from the Archives and Special Collections (SCA). In that capacity, I create exhibits, write UNMC Today history articles and create presentations and continuing education for UNMC faculty using SCA materials.

Tell us about your educational research interests and teaching role.
I am very interested in the health humanities. Participation in the health humanities, whether it is art, music, creative writing, history or philosophy, can provide outlets to ease/prevent burnout, build listening and observation skills, and/or provide knowledge about why health care professionals do what they do (i.e., the history of the field — the good, the bad and the ugly). As an instructor of the health humanities for High School Alliance, my goal is to influence health science students early about the benefits of the health humanities.

What is one of your favorite/memorable teaching moments?
I love when a topic in class inspires a student to want to learn more. I had a student in the High School Alliance course become so interested in a one-hour in-class activity topic, that she chose it for her semester-long research project. I was able to introduce a brand new subject from the history of medicine that sparked the student to invest the time to learn more. I hope to always provide sparks for curiosity and inquisitiveness.

What do you see as the biggest benefit to being a member of the IAE?
IAE provides a network to meet other like-minded individuals. The introductions turn into collaborations, that turn into output to improve instruction.

What do you enjoy doing in your free (non-work) time?
In my free time, I enjoy gardening, crafting and thrifting. I recently started baking with a sourdough starter. I enjoy being creative — creating things, whether I'm successful or not.

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