Narrative Medicine & The Creative Impulse
April 17, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - April 19, 2020 @ 4:00 pm
April 17 – 19, 2020
Schedule and Registration to Come Soon.
Narrative Medicine & The Creative Impulse
Narrative Medicine is, at its core, a creative act. Acts of perception and attention ignite our narrative practice. Seeing, hearing, sensing, taking in that which we witness begins the process toward healing, and creative thinking fostered by narrative medicine training attunes us to those skills within ourselves. Creative Director of Narrative Medicine novelist Nellie Hermann has been our leader and inspiration in locating creativity at the heart of what we do.
The creativity of narrative medicine goes far beyond a reliance on fiction and film as convenient “case histories” of patients, or paintings as observable depictions of diseased bodies, or musical compositions as evidence of a composer’s psychopathology. Instead, narrative medicine recognizes the aesthetic capabilities of its practitioners as fundamental instruments necessary for effective care. We grow toward our own powers to attend to our patients through the schooled avenues of close reading, deep listening, and concentrated witnessing of works of art.
This workshop features world-renowned writers, artists, cinema scholars, and musicians who can reveal to us how to get the news from stories, images, and sounds. Join us in engaging interactions with works of art in varied forms and genres. Join us too in the creation of art—not only for the pleasure this brings but for the community-building that cannot but follow from it. Narrative medicine is a radical practice with art and beauty at its center, not to distract us from the suffering we face but to make the suffering visible, audible, and palpable so as to ease it.
Plenary presentations by faculty open up themes of how stories work, exploring concepts such as creativity, ethics, bearing witness, and empathy, while the small groups practice rigorous skills in close reading, creative writing, and responding to the writings of others. Close reading is an integral part of the workshop as is short prompted writing and discussion. Participants will gain access to our online resource page prior to the start of the workshop where all information necessary to prepare for the weekend is provided, including literary texts, film, visual art and seminar articles in the field of narrative medicine by leading educators.
Workshop Description & Objectives
This intensive workshop will offer rigorous skill-building in narrative competence, and provides an intensive introductory experience to the methods and skills of narrative medicine. These practices are then applicable to unlimited clinical and non-clinical settings. Participants will gather for plenary presentations by the founders of the Division of Narrative Medicine alternating with small-group seminars and guest lectures by Robert O’Meally and Rika Burnham. Participants will learn effective techniques for attentive listening, adopting others’ perspectives, accurate representation, and reflective reasoning. Plenary sessions will focus on reconceptualizing empathy, narrative ethics, bearing witness, and illness narratives. Small group seminars will offer firsthand experience in close reading, reflective writing, and autobiographical exercises. The target audience is physicians, other health care professionals and scholars interested in Narrative Medicine.
The Workshop will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with specific schedule to be announced. For additional information, email Joseph Eveld at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Division of Narrative Medicine at 212-305-1952.
The effective care of the sick requires deep and singular knowledge of the patient, competence and commitment of the physician, and a sturdy bond of trust between the two. Despite the many sociocultural and professional factors that may divide doctors and patients and the impact of political and economic pressures on health care as a whole, effective medical practice needs to replace hurried and impersonal care with careful listening and empathic attention. By fortifying clinical practice with the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by stories of illness, narrative training enables practitioners to comprehend patients’ experiences and to understand what they themselves undergo as clinicians. Professionalism, cultural competence, bioethical competence, interpersonal communication skills, self-reflective practice, and ability to work with health care teams can be strengthened by increasing narrative competence.
Many persons engaged in health care, including patients, providers, and literary scholars, are seeking fresh means to engage in powerful, person-centered care. Attentive listening, creative contact, singular accuracy, and personal fidelity are often 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 occurs when the patient gives an account of self and the clinician skillfully receives it. Our experience and research have shown that the clinical routines and teaching methods of narrative medicine can transform practice and training.Time-tested teaching approaches can help participants to convey to their students the skills of empathic interviewing, reflective practice, narrative ethics, and self-awareness.
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.
We invite nurses, physicians, dentists, chaplains, social workers, therapists, public health professionals and other clinicians, as well as writers, academics, scholars and all those interested in the intersection of narrative and medicine to join us. By combining these groups of participants, we can all learn how to unify what are sometimes divided efforts in patient care, integrating the ethical awareness and sensibility with the clinical recognition that can ensue.
Rita Charon, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics, Professor of Medicine at Columbia, narratologist and Jamesian, Executive Director of the Division of Narrative Medicine, author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness.
Nellie Hermann, MFA, Creative Director of the Division of Narrative Medicine, novelist, architect of Columbia’s faculty development in writing for clinicians, author of The Cure for Grief and The Season of Migration.
Craig Irvine, PhD, Director of the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia, Lecturer in Narrative Medicine at Columbia, phenomenologist and memoirist, author of “The Other Side of Silence: Levinas, Medicine, and Literature.”
Maura Spiegel, PhD, Professor of English at Columbia, Interim Director of Columbia’s American Studies Program, Victorianist and cinema scholar, editor of The Grim Reader and author of the forthcoming biography of film director Sidney Lumet.
Deepthiman Gowda, MD, MPH, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University and Director of Clinical Practice of the Division of Narrative Medicine. Dr. Gowda is a general internist, photographer, and teacher/researcher in the teaching of visual arts in health care settings. He is also a current Macy Foundation Faculty Scholar.
Robert O’Meally, PhD, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and founder and former director of the Center for Jazz Studies. His major interests are American literature, music, and painting. He has written extensively on Ralph Ellison, including The Craft of Ralph Ellison (Harvard, 1980), and a collection of papers for which he served as editor, New Essays on Invisible Man (Cambridge, 1989). Professor O’Meally has written a biography of Billie Holiday entitled Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday (Little, Brown, 1989) and a documentary on Holiday (which has been shown on public TV).
Rika Burnham, DFA, A leading theorist and practitioner of art museum gallery teaching, Rika Burnham serves as Head of Education at the Frick Collection in New York and project director for Teaching Institute for Museum Educators/TIME at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Previously, she was a museum educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. An influential author in her field, her publications include several essays on museum education (National Gallery of Australia, 2015; The Barnes Foundation, 2015; and SITE Santa Fe, 2015) and a catalogue essay in Pierre Bonnard: The Late Still Lifes and Interiors (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009). Teaching in the Art Museum: Interpretation as Experience (Getty, 2011), which she coauthored with Elliott Kai-Kee, won a PROSE Award for best title in education from the Association of American Publishers. Burnham holds a degree in art history from Harvard University and was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2014. She teaches The Literature of Art in the Master’s Program.
Comments from Recent Participants
“I am seeing more the value of narrative medicine – bringing us beyond the superficial to appreciating more the richness and complexity of our lives.”
Tom McNeil, Social Worker
Cape Breton Cancer Centre, Nova Scotia, Canada
“I wish I could attend a workshop every few months. There’s something about having a community of practice that replenishes and inspires. The workshop made me more confident to move forward with [my narrative] project: why not me? why not now?”
Kathy Kirkland, Palliative Care Physician
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hanover, NH, USA
- Develop the narrative competence to nourish empathic doctor-patient relationships
- Learn narrative communication strategies for patient-centered and life-framed practice
- Build habits of reflective practice that enhance professionalism and nurture clinical communities
- Acquire pedagogic skills to teach methods of narrative medicine
- Replace isolation with affiliation, cultivate enduring collegial alliances, and reveal meaning in clinical practice
Held at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus, these weekends will provide opportunities for individual consultations with faculty, shared meals, informal social gatherings, and access to the cultural offerings of New York City.
- $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
(Tuition includes meals during workshop hours, and select readings). Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations. When available, the early bird registration offers $50 off all tuition fees. Deadline for the early bird special will be updated with the opening of registration.
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 for each individual who attends within a cohort of two or more.If you plan to come with a cohort, reach out to Joseph Eveld at email@example.com for more information on how to register for the discount.
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Alumni Auditorium & Schaefer Awards Gallery
650 W. 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
Participants are responsible for their own accommodations. Click here to access the Columbia University Travel Portal to book preferred hotels with a discount. The Edge Hotel is the only hotel within walking distance, other hotels like Hotel Cliff, Saint Nicholas Inn and Aloft Harlem are a short subway ride away. Please visit Google Maps for an idea of proximity and location.
The workshop itself takes place in northern Manhattan, in the “Washington Heights” neighborhood, near Broadway and 168th Street (which is different than the main Columbia University campus at 116th St). There are many affordable apartments to rent within walking distance through airbnb.com. We recommend staying as far west as possible.
Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. If you require disability accommodations to for this event, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 212-854-2388 or firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 days in advance of the event. We will do our best to arrange accommodations received after this deadline but cannot guarantee them.
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- Narrative Medicine & The Creative Impulse, April 17-19, 2020: #NMcreativeimpulse
Follow our past workshops
- Basic Workshop: October 11-13, 2019: #fallNMworkshop
- Burnout in Healthcare: The Need for Narrative, March 8-10, 2019: #springNMworkshop #againstburnout
- Basic Workshop: October 12-14, 2018: #fallNMworkshop
- Narrative Palliative Care March 23-25, 2018: #palliativecarenmworkshop
- Basic Workshop: November 10-12,2017: #fallNMworkshop
- Basic Workshop: October 28 – 30, 2016 &October 16 – 18, 2015: #fallNMworkshop
- Race | Violence | Justice: The Need for Narrative, April 7 – 9, 2017: #SocialJustice2017
- Basic Workshop, A Call to Ethics: April 15 – 17, 2016: #NarrativeEthics2016 | More information
- Narrative Medicine Summer Institute: June 6 – 10, 2016: #NMedInstitute2016 | More information
- Advanced Workshop: June 23 – 26, 2016: #advancedNMworkshop | More information