Lee Robinson grew up in the Carolinas, earned her B.A. from Boston University and her J.D. from Antioch School of Law. Before moving to Texas in 1998, she practiced law in Charleston, S.C. for more than 20 years and in 1995 she was elected the first female president of the Charleston County Bar association. Lee has worked as a public defender, director of an 11-county civil legal aid program in low country South Carolina, and in private practice. She has been listed in "Best Lawyers in America." She was instrumental in making mediation and arbitration an integral part of the court system in South Carolina and received the Gedney Howe award for public service to the Bar.
Lee's novel for young adults, "Gateway," the story of a custody battle told from a teenager's point of view, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1996. She has published essays and poetry in many magazines, including Harper's, Texas Observer, and Crab Orchard Review. She is a three-time winner of the S.C. Arts Commission Fiction Prize for her short stories. In 1996, she received the Ross Essay Award from the American Bar Association Journal. In 2000, the Texas Arts Commission awarded her its Poetry Fellowship.
Lee published her first book of poetry, Hearsay, in 2004. Her second collection, Creed, will be released in 2009 from Plainview Press.
"The course we teach, Medicine Through Literature, began as an experiment in the medical humanities when several MS4s requested such an offering from the Center. The students wanted to read novels and short stories and essays that, in their words, "had nothing to do with what a medical student does year by year." And we tried initially to follow their instructions. But we soon recognized that great literature and essays and poetry all speak to the human condition, to something all of us-seasoned doctors, students and patients-have in common. Our intersecting journeys told in the narrative tradition are instructive and ennobling, help center us in the busy rush of our lives, and nurture our empathic responsiveness. When a student responds to a story, Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych, for example, and says, "I didn't really get how death can be... I never experienced it in such a personal way before I read this story..." well, that is what we enjoy most about teaching this course. This is why we come back year after year. And why, I suspect, many of our students take this class as MS2s-and come back again two years later for more!"
Jerald Winakur, MD, physician author
and Lee Robinson, JD, lawyer poet
Course Co-Directors, Medicine Through Literature