Eleanor (Ellie) K. Sommer joined the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program in 1994 and served as a writer in residence through 2001 and as a volunteer artist through 2009. She is a freelance writer and editor with a comprehensive background in book and magazine publishing. Her work in arts in medicine focuses on the roles of writing and storytelling as part of the healing process.
As writer in residence, Ellie facilitated the Bedtime StoryTellers & Listeners program for pediatric oncology patients and encouraged adult patients in writing projects through the Status One program on the cardiac transplant unit. In 1997, she organized the second AIM Symposium that brought together artists and health practitioners from around the country for a three-day, hands-on workshop that offered the basics for creating and sustaining arts programs in hospital or clinic settings. She also co-directed the development of the Arts in Medicine program at Alachua General Hospital in 1998. She divided her time between Shands at AHG and Shands at UF until 2001 when she become the editorial director for the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT).
In 2010, she resigned that position, re-established her freelance writing and editing profession, and began the pursuit of a graduate degree. In 2014, Ellie graduated from the University of Florida with a master’s of science (MS) in Interdisciplinary Ecology, with a focus on communications and climate change. She is interested in environmental education and restorative natural settings, which provide additional ways to introduce patients and caregivers to opportunities for creative experiences that may enhance health and well-being.