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About Dr. Nobel

Jeremy Nobel, M.D., MPH, is a primary-care physician, public health practitioner, and award-winning poet with faculty appointments at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School. He is the founder and president of The Foundation for Art & Healing, whose signature initiative, Project UnLonely, addressing the personal and public health challenges of loneliness and social isolation, has gained national visibility.

Jeremy Nobel

Project UnLonely: Healing Our Crisis of Disconnection

Project UnLonely book cover

Insight into our new world of loneliness that offers solace, hope, and solutions.

Even before 2020, chronic loneliness was a private experience of profound anguish that had become a public health crisis. Since then it has reached new heights. Loneliness assumes many forms, from enduring physical isolation to feeling rejected because of difference, and it can have devastating consequences for our physical and mental health. As the founder of Project UnLonely, Jeremy Nobel unpacks our personal and national experience of loneliness to discover its roots and take steps to find comfort and connection.

Dr. Nobel leverages many voices, from pioneering researchers, to leaders in business, education, the arts, and health care, to the lived experience of lonely people of every age, background, and circumstance. He discovers that the pandemic isolated us in ways that were not only physical, and that, at its core, a true sense of loneliness results from a disconnection to the self. He clarifies how meaningful reconnection can be nourished and sustained. And he reveals that an important component of the healing process is engaging in creativity. Make things!

Supportive, clear-eyed, and comforting, this is the book we will take into our new normal and rely on for years to come.

Now Available

Speaking Engagements & Events

Interview with Mike Paseornek
UnLonely Film Festival

Mending the Social Fabric of Our Nation: The Loneliness Epidemic Among Older Adults
Milken Institute

Loneliness @ Colleges of Art & Design (Keynote)
AICAD Student Success Conference

COVID-19 Impact on Employee Loneliness and Isolation
HR Policy Association

How to Combat Loneliness This Holiday

Long Haul Loneliness | Brain Waves
One Mind

Interview with Reji Mathew
Disastershock Reporter’s Notebook

Conversations on Belonging, Connection, and Wellbeing
Foundation for Social Connection

Dr. Nobel’s Poetry

Pain Workup

Tell me
about the pain,
Is it sharp or dull?
What brings it on?
What makes it go away?
Does aspirin seem to help?
Can you tolerate greasy foods?
Does it feel a bit better after eating?
Is it worse in the morning or evening?
Does it get relieved when you lie down?
Does it come and go or is the pain constant?
Does it radiate through to your back or shoulder?
Can you put a finger on the exact spot that hurts most?
Do you wake in the morning, crowned with a halo of pain?
Do you remember a time when you remembered no pain?
Have you come to depend on the pain to keep you alive?
Do you feel like a small animal is nibbling inside you?
Does it crumple you in half when the pain comes?
When you were young did you torture animals?
Do you recall how green the grass used to be?
Were you faithful to your first lover?
Are you afraid of the dark?
Tell me about the pain,
Is it sharp or dull?
Tell me.

© Jeremy Nobel

Ode to Coffee

You, the elixir of life,
and my dark unsung song.
Your enduring invitation
to non-specific euphoria, caffeine,
the low end of the speed spectrum,
easier to partner with
for a lifetime than, say, heroin.
Storm-brewed, blood stirring
the benevolent beverage
recalling Ethiopia’s tenth
century, where it all started
with red berries, first eaten,
then soft pale beans steeped
in boiling water, sipped
under the evening stars,
whose pale twinkles
guided thirsty lips to the cup.
Only later to be roasted,
igniting Sufi imagination
in Yemen, putting
the whirl in the dervish–
ceremonial, exquisite,
misleadingly temporary,
yet tenaciously persistent.
French pressed, filter dripped
or as I remember from childhood
watching my parents
also in worship of you,
percolated. Or later, on the wards
negotiating burnout and loss, drunk
unceasingly from Styrofoam.
Now, guiding my moments
of indecisive sorcery
from sacred to sufficient,
into my cup you splash,
creamed and sweetened
or black as death,
the wild ebony stallion
on which rides
my too fast beating heart.

© Jeremy Nobel

Snafu In Three Shots

Nebraska, 1982, your dad, just drunk enough to be lethal,
takes his belt off at the dinner table to enforce discipline
while your dog in a nervous crouch eyes the door and the clock
on the wall ticks down the launch sequence in the held-breath
silence as your mother cowers with you trying to protect her,
both afraid that if she were killed that you would be next.

Fallujah, 2004, the second battle, Operation Phantom Fury,
heaviest street fighting since Hue in Nam in sixty-eight
and the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war and you a Captain now
and a Marine combat engineer which means that a lot of crap jobs
come your way, step on an IED that fails to detonate, but then
one of your men steps on it and it does, killing him.

Quantico Virginia, 2010, where you’re living with your wife
and family and despite being inside the wire keep finding yourself
with a loaded M-9 in your hand going room to room, then to the attic
sweeping the place for bad guys, and scaring Jesus out of everybody
including yourself when you wake up and realize you almost
shot your kids, when it was just squirrels on the roof.

© Jeremy Nobel