Join us Friday, March 6 at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids for “Emotional Health – The glue that holds us together when life’s tough stuff happens,” a symposium bringing together health care professionals, caregivers and anyone affected by chronic diseases like cancer in a morning of learning and conversation. Together, we’ll explore the beneficial impact laughter can have on physical, emotional and mental health and its integration in care.

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Earn 3 Continuing Education Credits in nursing or social work! Topics include:

Jayson Dibble Humor, Laughter, and Well-Being: What Does the Research Tell Us?

Jayson Dibble, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Communication, Hope College

Folk wisdom teaches that laughter is the best medicine. This aphorism often rings true to so many people that it is rarely questioned. However, the reality is more nuanced than this. For example, are the supposed benefits due to the behavior of laughter itself, the emotional experience of humor, or something else? Moreover, research suggests that not all humor is created equal. Indeed, certain kinds of humor could be beneficial, but other kinds are detrimental. In order to enjoy any benefits, people need to embrace effective humor styles. This one-hour course discusses the latest research on the links between laughter, humor, and social and physical well-being. How should we be thinking about laughter, humor, and its role in promoting positive health outcomes, and what might this mean for our work as care providers?

David SharpPunching Holes in the Darkness: How Humor can Help in Times of Tragedy and Sadness

David Sharp, MD, Faith Hospice of Grand Rapids

We will explore how and why situations that ordinarily would be considered “times of sadness” could indeed morph into times of learning and healing positivity, often with a humorous sideline or content. Participants will be invited to join the conversation by sharing personal examples (from themselves or de-identified clients/patients) of times when humor was evident or helpful in what would otherwise be considered a time of tragedy or sadness. We will examine the “burnout phenomenon” and enumerate preventive measures that we can all implement – right now.

Andrew Kline

Pain Management in a Painfully Painful Environment: Challenges and opportunities to pain management in the Emergency Department

Andrew Kline, MD, PharmD, Emergency Medicine Physician and Clinical Advisor of Emergency Neurology through Emergency Care Specialists at Spectrum Health

Together, we will identify challenges and opportunities to treating both acute and chronic pain in the emergency department. We will also explore non-opioid treatment modalities and optimizing success with these modalities including non-pharmacologic treatments.


Friday, March 6 Agenda

  • 8 a.m. Healthy snacks, coffee and networking
  • 8:30 a.m. Jayson Dibble, Ph.D.
  • 9:30 a.m. Brain Break
  • 9:45 a.m. Session 1 – David Sharp, MD
  • 10:45 a.m. Brain Break
  • 11 a.m. Andrew Kline MD, Phar.D.  
  • Noon Optional networking lunch event offsite (additional cost)

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Registration also includes a discount to LaughFest event, Adam Cayton-Holland – “Happy Place”

A national touring headliner who was named one of 25 “Comics to Watch” by Esquire Magazine and one of “10 Comics to Watch” by Variety, Adam’s one man show, “Happy Place,” is his new-one-man show loosely adapted for stage from his critically acclaimed memoir, “Tragedy Plus Time.”  Adam was plugging away in the world of stand-up, steadily climbing the comedy ladder, when the unthinkable happened: his little sister Lydia killed herself. “Happy Place” is a darkly funny exploration of going through the unimaginable and learning to find your sense of humor again.


Symposium Done in Partnership with
Making Choices Michigan

The Laughter Rx Programming is presented by

Emmanuel HospiceSamaritas Logo