Columbia University Irving Medical Center

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Race | Violence | Justice: The Need for Narrative

April 7, 2017 @ 10:00 am - April 9, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

Registration Full

Please email Cindy Smalletz at to be added to the waitlist

Follow along on Twitter at #SocialJustice2017

The Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University will hold a Narrative Medicine Basic Workshop called “Race | Violence | Justice: The Need for Narrative” on April 7-9, 2017 at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. We live in an increasingly polarized society with exceedingly complex and pressing issues facing health care, including class and race-based health disparities, unequal access to health care, and the increasing toll of gun violence against persons of color. Rigorous narrative work may reveal a path through intensely divided positions on these issues toward a place of productive understanding.

Our signature methods of close reading, attentive listening, and perspectival respect hold out possibilities for reciprocal understanding, even in the face of deep divisions. Together, we will use narrative methods to bridge divides and catalyze action.

We welcome our guest speakers:

  • George Yancy, philosopher, author of Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race and Look, A White! Philosophical Essays on Whiteness
  • Mindy Fullilove, community psychiatrist, activist urban planner, and author of Urban Alchemy
  • Sayantani DasGupta, writer, pediatrician, professor of narrative medicine, and author of Globalization and Transnational Surrogacy in India
  • Topher Sanders, award-winning investigative journalist, author of recent NY Times opinion piece “Only White People, said the little girl,” who covers race inequality for Pro Publica

We invite public health activists, community leaders, social activists, police officers, legal/philosophical scholars, nurses, therapists, physicians, dentists, chaplains, and other clinicians to extend their expertise and contribute to this conversation of pressing importance.

For those who have already taken the Basic Narrative Medicine Workshop, the April 2017 workshop is a way to enhance their narrative skills with an entirely new set of lectures and group work focused on Race, Violence and Justice. For those coming to the Program for the first time, this workshop will fulfill the requirement needed to take Advanced Workshops in the Program.


2:00 – 2:30 Registration (Alumni Auditorium, 650 W 168th St, New York, NY 10032)
2:30 – 3:00 The Need for Narrative | Rita Charon, MD, PhD and Maura Spiegel, PhD
3:00 – 4:00 Mindy Fullilove | Seeing “serial forced displacement” in our narratives
4:00 – 5:00 Timeline activity
5:15 – 6:30 Small group session
6:30 – 7:30 Cocktail Reception
8:30 – 9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00 – 10:30 George Yancy will explore the response to his New York Times “Dear White America” letter and will suggest necessary counter-narratives in the context of thinking about Black bodies.
10:45 – 12:15 Small group session
12:15 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 Topher Sanders, an investigative reporter, will speak about the response to his article “‘Only White People,’ said the little girl,” and the difficult balance of raising black children who are aware and perceptive, yet still open-minded to the goodness of people around them.
3:15 – 4:45 Small Group Session
8:30 – 9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00 – 10:30 Sayantani DasGupta | Visionary Medicine: Racial Justice, Health and the need for Radical Imagination
10:45 – 12:15 Small group session
12:15 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 Small group session
3:15 – 4:00 Interactive session with All Faculty: Using narrative methods to bridge divides and catalyze action
4:00 – 5:00 Panel Discussion: Looking to the Future

Narrative Medicine

Many persons engaged in health care, either as patients or providers, are hungry to give and receive care. Attentive listening, creative contact, singular accuracy, and personal fidelity have gone missing from the routines of our practices. Among the many responses to the failures of our current health care system is Narrative Medicine. Developed at Columbia University in 2000, Narrative Medicine fortifies clinical practice with the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by stories of illness. We realize that the care of the sick unfolds in stories, and we recognize that the central event of health care is for a patient to give an account of self and a clinician to skillfully receive it.

The clinical routines and the teaching methods of Narrative Medicine, our experience and research show, can transform practice and training. Time-tested teaching approaches can help participants who seek to convey to their learners the skills of empathic interviewing, reflective practice, narrative ethics, self-awareness, and creating and sustaining healing intersubjective contact with patients and colleagues.

Come work and study with us for a weekend. Gather with colleagues from the world over to learn the narrative skills of close reading, attentive listening, and creative writing. Find out how your own imagination can reveal things you know unawares. Experience the deep bonds that can form among clinicians and those who care about health care in short periods of small group intensive narrative work. Recognize and be recognized as ones who have care within them.


  • $1000 for participants with income over $100,000/year
  • $850 for income between $45,000 and $100,000/year
  • $500 for income under $45,000/year

(includes syllabus, meals during workshop hours, and readings). Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations. When available, the early bird registration offers $50 off all tuition amounts.

Discounts for cohorts:

Based on our experience that cohorts of participants from an institution are better able to continue their narrative learning and to ignite narrative projects at their home institution, we now offer a discount of $100 on the tuition of each individual who attends within a cohort of two or more.

Continuing Education Credits

Accreditation Statement

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement

The College of Physicians and Surgeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 16 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ . Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Continuing Dental Education

Columbia University College of Dental Medicine is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider 11/1/13 through 12/31/17. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at

Participants: Continuing Education credits awarded for participation in the CE activity may not apply toward license renewal in all states. It is the responsibility of each participant to verify the requirements of his/her licensing board(s) and to report credits to the appropriate authority.

Continuing Education Credits for Social Workers

16 CEUs are available for NYS, NY, NJ and CT-licensed social workers. Additionally, NY State regulations mandate full attendance to receive the credits. So participants must attend the entire workshop (no partial credits).

Follow our past workshops:


April 7, 2017 @ 10:00 am
April 9, 2017 @ 1:00 pm
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Columbia University Irving Medical Center
701 W. 168th Street
New York, NY 10032 United States
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