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College of Public Health


Internationally celebrated illusionist Kevin Spencer, and Cherokee Elder, Historian, and Storyteller, Freeman Owle combined to provide faculty, students, and members of the community an unforgettable evening of health, wellness, and the arts. This is the second time that the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and the College of Public Health have collaborated as a part of the Leading Voices in Public Health Lecture Series.

Crowd chatting

Cherokee Elder, Historian and Storyteller Freeman Owle talks with faculty and students in front of the Gold Humanism Honor Society Photography Exhibit

Kevin Spencer, along with his wife Cindy, have been recognized as Merlin Award recipients by the International Magicians Society, and have received numerous other awards and recognitions.

After about thirty minutes of remarkable illusions, Kevin discussed how he uses magic as a mechanism to teach new skills and confidence to the physically challenged. The Spencers have developed The Healing of Magic a systematic program that uses simple magic tricks in physical and psychosocial rehabilitation for patients with physical limitations, brain injuries, learning disabilities and other similar challenges. They have also developed HOCUS FOCUS a comprehensive curriculum available to teachers to provide them with a visual, exciting, and motivating way to allow students to safely explore skill levels, improve existing skills, and develop new ones.

Illusionist Kevin Spencer enthralled the audience with a series of remarkable illusions

Illusionist Kevin Spencer enthralled the audience with a series of remarkable illusions

Cherokee Elder, Historian, and Storyteller opened the evening with a number of stories about the history of health and holistic wellness in the Cherokee tradition. He interwove stories about the history of the Cherokee people with stories of his own life on the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina, and lessons on the importance of health professionals interacting with the patient in the context of that patients culture, beliefs and heritage. A skilled carver of wood and stone, he also displayed a number of the items that he has made.

Kevin Spencer explains

Illusionist Kevin Spencer explains how the Healing of Magic uses magic tricks to assist in physical and psychosocial rehabilitation.

Both performers took considerable time after the show to meet with members of the audience, answer questions, and discuss a range of item of interest. The College of Public Health presented both with plaques identifying them as Humanitarian Scholars in the College.

During intermission, the Gold Humanism Honor Society of the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, displayed some remarkable photographs of the artistic lives of medical students and other health professionals.

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