Importance and Definition of Narrative Medicine:

“Sick persons and those who care for them become obligatory story-tellers and story-listeners. Hippocrates knew this, Chekhov knew this, Freud knew this, … and yet, there has been an odd diminishment of the status of storytelling in medicine ever since we decided we knew enough about the body by virtue of reducing it to its parts that we did not need to hear out its inhabitant.

...  I define [Narrative Medicine] as medicine practiced with the narrative competencies to recognize, absorb, interpret and be moved by the stories of illness."

Charon, Rita. "Narrative medicine: attention, representation, affiliation." Narrative 13.3 (2005): 261-270.

Vision Statement:

The Program of Narrative Medicine and Medical Humanities, in the Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism, will lead innovative changes in medical and interprofessional education for the purpose of promoting the highest ideals of patient-centered care and will promote a culture, within local and national communities, of medical humanism and ethical and compassionate human relationships.

Mission Statement:

The program endeavors to:

  • Educate to empower and to raise awareness regarding the values of medical humanism in patient care, as well as provide evidence-based techniques for integration in current and future practice.
  • Promote compassionate clinical care and value for the patient’s story through narrative medicine methods.
  • Create a community around shared values to enhance meaning in medicine and resiliency in healers.
  • Support Scholarship; demonstrate efficacy for Narrative Medicine practices, as well as the value of Medical Humanities to patient-centered care.

Jennifer Hartmark-Hill, MD
Director, Program for Narrative Medicine and Medical Humanities

Jennifer Hartmark-Hill, MD