Narrative Medicine & The Creative Impulse: A Basic Narrative Medicine Workshop

Early Bird Registration of $50 off tuition through March 20!

Standard Registration Open through April 6th, space permitting.

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.

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 presentations by faculty open up themes of how stories and art 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.

The Workshop will be held on Friday 1pm-7:30pm, Saturday 8:30am-4:45pm, and Sunday 8:30am-4:00pm with full schedule below. For additional information, email Joseph Eveld at or call the Division of Narrative Medicine at 212-305-1952.

$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.

We also 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 for more information on how to register for the discount.

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.

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.

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 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.

Event Contact Information:
Joe Eveld

Friday, April 17 at 1:00pm to 7:30pm

More dates through April 19, 2020

William Black Medical Research Building, Alumni Auditorium and Schaefer Awards Gallery
650 West 168th Street, New York, NY

Event Type

For Professionals, Continuing Medical Education, Special Events, Informational Sessions, Classes & Workshops, Nursing



$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



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