Why Narrative Medicine?
Narrative Medicine is a field of study founded on the idea that stories matter in the clinical encounter and that close reading is a skill every healthcare professional must possess. Rita Charon, MD, PhD, originator of Narrative Medicine, describes this field as “[m]edicine practiced with the narrative competence to recognize, interpret, and be moved to action by the predicament of others.” Narrative medicine has the capacity to transform the health of individuals, communities, and health care systems.
Click here to watch Rita Charon’s 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities
Click here to read an interview with Rita Charon and Jon Parrish Peede from the NEH
Rita Charon’s USC Visions and Voices Webinar – “To See the Suffering: Equipment for Healing”
Training in this field will enhance the work of:
- Practicing clinicians (physicians, social workers, nurses, physician assistants, psychotherapists, occupational and physical therapists, speech pathologists, etc.).
- Mid-career professionals seeking to transition into teaching or service.
- Journalists, filmmakers, and individuals in the non-profit sector invested in health, social justice, and community.
- Humanities scholars planning to study in PhD programs who wish to develop tools for creating boundary-crossing initiatives that address real-world problems in community healthcare.
- Gap year students planning to pursue study in the health sciences.
Our world is in crisis. COVID-19 is a relatively new plague. Systemic racism is not. Both diseases are reshaping the national and international discourse on what it means to be healthy and safe in society. Recently, David Skorton, MD, President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) highlighted the moral responsibility of healers and educators, particularly in medical schools and teaching hospitals, to fight against social injustice, inequality, and racism.
The Keck School of Medicine’s Master of Science in Narrative Medicine seeks to enhance the skills needed to do this kind of work, to bear witness, to absorb, to make sense of, and act upon the stories, the traumas of others at this moment in history. Our students and faculty stand ready to co-create the kind of environments that will contribute to the ongoing work of healing.
See David Skorton’s full Statement here.