Dr. Susan Parenti

Susan Parenti, PhD


  • Politics of Care;
  • Desire and Design;
  • Performance in Everyday Life;
  • Living a Life of Joy;
  • Care—a New Cry for Revolution;
  • Making Yourself Intentional and an Instrument of Joy;
  • Designing Not Resigning— How to Change Health Care Delivery;
  • Have You Considered Thinking?;
  • Patch Adams and Our Gesundheit Hospital Fantasy

About Susan

Susan Parenti is a touring performer, writer and collaborator with Dr. Patch Adams. She was one of the founding organizers of the School for Designing a Society, a grassroots school for social change in Urbana, IL. The relationship between the School for Designing a Society and the Gesundheit Institute owes much of its existence to Susan.

Susan is the author of three books: The Politics of the Adjective 'Political', I and My Mouth and Their Irresistible Life in Language, and Playing Attention to Language. Susan is currently co-writing a book with Patch Adams called The Politics of Care.

Susan received her masters and doctorate degree in musical arts (DMA) from the University of Illinois, and her bachelors degree from Northwestern University. After studying for two years in Rome, Italy, at the l'Academia di Santa Cecilia she became a composer as a profession.

However, Susan does not only compose music. In collaboration with Herbert Brun, Susan composes in the medium of language and of society. This means that in addition to composing pieces for chamber ensembles, she also composes schools, projects, and approaches to thinking.

Susan is currently a teacher and organizer of the School for Designing a Society in Urbana-Illinois, a two year program where composition is applied to social change. She has been a guest teacher at some of the most progressive schools in the United States and Europe: Evergreen College in Washington, Bard, Bennington, Oberlin, New College in Florida, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma State as well as on the faculty at the University of Illinois, teaching the innovative freshmen Discovery course. Susan has taught at Schumacher College in England, and at the Gesammtehochschule in Kassel, Germany.

In 1993, Susan began to lecture with Patch Adams on the road, when her schedule at the School for Designing a Society allows.

photo of Susan with her occordian and Patch in a donkey costume