Narrative Medicine and Medical Humanities first and second year elective- AY 2017-2018 schedule

Narrative Medicine and Medical Humanities- AY 2017-2018 Schedule

This class meets from 12:00-12:50 for regular sessions and will be in HMEB 332 unless otherwise noted.  Special events meet at various times and locations.  Note that no one special event is required so you are able to select those events that fit your schedule.


This class explores topics and materials in the medical humanities and narrative medicine and the format is focused on discussion.  Movies and books listed below should be watched/read prior to attending class- if there are links for short readings, these also should be read prior to the class.  There are links to discussions of the films, please also watch the movie!


August/September-The Call of Stories

The overarching theme this month explores stories, and in particular the role of stories in understanding the human condition and particularly the role of stories in the practice of healthcare.

August 17 Special Event- History of Medicine Lecture-  In their own words: College of Medicine history from the oral history interviews.

August 21 Theater/interactive-  TEDMED- Using improv to improve life with Alzheimer’s   – This class will consider the role of theater in medical education and patient care & education.

August 22 Short readings- Wired for story

August 23 Illness narrative

August 28 Short readings- Spoken word poetry and health and  Writing and poetry has the capacity to foster well being- with research showing that writing about trauma can cause physiological changes and promote health.  For more information, look at the work of James Pennebaker

August 30 Movie- Carandiru

September 6 Illness narrative

September 8 Book discussion– Selections from Rita Charon, Narrative medicine.


September/October- Becoming a doctor

September 11 Movie- The Doctor.

September 18 Theater/interactive– Reader’s Theater, William Carlos Williams piece

September 20  Illness narrative

September 22 Short Readings/podcasts- Dan Shapiro, Counseling Doctors; [Meets in HMEB 333]

September 25 Illness narrative [Meets in HMEB 333]

October 2 Book Singular Intimacies, Danielle Ofri.


October- Writing about health and illness

October 4 Movie Healing Words. ;

October 9 Theater/interactive– writing for the health of it… inclass writing exercise

October 16 Illness Narrative– exploring the written illness narrative [Meets in HMEB 333]

October 18 Short Readings–  Poems by C. Dale Young from the book The Halo

October 23 Illness Narrative– exploring the graphic illness narrative;

October 25 Book- Writing as a way of Healing, Louise DeSalvo


Note: information on the short reading and interactive sessions for November, 2017- May, 2018 will be added depending on recent publications.


November- Abilities and Disabilities

November 1 MovieMurderball.

November 6 Theater/Interactive.

November 8 Illness Narrative.

November 13 Short Readings– Unspeakable Conversations ; ;

November 15 Illness Narrative.

November 20 Book-  Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy


November/December- HIV/AIDS

November 27  MovieA Closer Walk.

November 29 Theater/Interactive– public health and theater as education- Public Health Ambassadors Uganda-

December 4  Illness Narrative.

December 6 Short Readings.

December 11 Illness Narrative.

December 13  Book28 Stories of AIDS in Africa,  Stephanie Nolen


January– Mental health and illness

January 8 Movie Mr. Jones

January 10 Theater/Interactive.

January 17 Illness Narrative.

January 18 Short Readings.

January 20 Illness Narrative.

January 25 BookDarkness Visible, William Styron


February- Culture and Health

February 5 Movie– Moolaade

February 7 Theater/Interactive.

February 12 Illness Narrative.

February 14 Short Readings.

February 19 Illness Narrative.

February 21 Book– My Own Country, Abraham Verghese.


February/March- Green space and health

February 26 Movie- Satoyama. ;

February 28 Theater/Interactive.

March 12 Illness Narrative.

March 14 Short Readings.

March 19 Illness Narrative.

March 21 BookBirds, Art, Life: A Year of Observation. Kyo Mcear


April- Disease and Stigma

April 4 Movie– Warm Springs.

April 9 Theater/Interactive.

April 11 Illness Narrative.

April 16 Short Readings.

April 25 Illness Narrative.

April 30 BookThe Polio Hole. Shelley Fraser Mickle.


May- Global Health Issues

May 2 Movie Africa Live: Roll Back Malaria Concert. ;

May 7 Theater/Interactive. Discussion of the films “The Last Song Before the War” and “Sound of the Soul” ;

May 9  Illness Narrative.

May 14 Short Readings.

May 16 Illness Narrative.

May 21 BookA School for My Village: A Promise to the Orphans of Nyaka. S.U. Kinville & Twesigye J. Kaguri.


Narrative medicine and Medical Humanities  Longitudinal Elective for students in the c/o 2018 and beyond

This course offers the opportunity to pursue longitudinally the medical humanities, your personal reflective process, ways to address stress, and develop a deeper understanding of the physician-patient relationship and the experience of illness.  You also will have the chance to explore your thinking about significant issues in medicine and to discuss these issues in a safe environment.


The two reflective pieces from first and second year attendances are due by the end of second year. Please provide the completed package at the beginning of your 4th year when you are planning your schedule.  This packet includes your initial paragraph, another copy of your two reflective pieces from first and second year and your fourth year reflection)

Course objectives:

  1. Introduce students to the range of medical humanities and narrative medicine.
  2. Introduce students to key topics and concepts related to medicine and clinical patient care.
  3. Explore options to address caregiver compassion fatigue.
  4. Provide opportunity for longitudinal reflection and understanding of personal growth as a physician.
  5. Develop reflective writing skills.
  6. Develop deeper understanding of the narrative process and experience of illness.


  1. Commit to taking the class and write a paragraph supporting this commitment.
  2. Attend 6 reading discussions, 6 movie discussions, 6 patient narratives, and 6 special events in your first 4 semesters of medical school (note that class sessions always are available during the summer as well.
Type of session Number of attendances required (breakdown of total in parentheses)
Reading 6 total, broken down to:
       Book (3)
      Short reading/poem (3)
Film/interactive 6 total, broken down to:
      Full length documentary/fictional film (3)
     Theater, other event, short film, activity/project (3)
Patient story- in person narrative, video, or podcast 6
Special event 6
Total 24


  1. Keep track of these attendances.
  2. Write 2 reflections based on this material- note that there are not individual due dates for these reflections but they must be done by the time of completing the attendance requirements.
  3. Write an additional 4th year reflection expanding on material from the course and incorporating experiences in third and fourth year.

*we will start exploring other writings and readings that are shorter than a book

+Special events include history of medicine lecture series, humanism discussions, other humanities and social science-related events.

Requirement completion record

Paragraph/piece of writing: Your response can/should address the following questions:

What are your interests in this field?  What would you like to learn more about?  What topics appeal to you and why?  What are your long term goals for the class and for your medical career?  What issues in medicine are of concern to you and how might you use the humanities to address these concerns?

What materials/topics would you like to discuss?  (there will be room to add to our discussion calendar)

Please attach a copy of your writing to this document and make sure you also have submitted a copy.



Category Date of attendance Topic Instructor initials



















































2 Reflective pieces from first and second year course material:

Attach copies of these pieces to this record and also make sure you have submitted a copy.

  1. Topic:                                Date of Completion:        Questions/Concerns about this piece (What would you like to see addressed in the instructor response to this paper?):
  2. Topic:                               Date of Completion:         Questions/Concerns about this piece (What would you like to see addressed in the instructor response to this paper?):

Summative reflection to be completed in 4th year

For 4th year: Please attach a copy of your writing to this document and make sure you also have submitted a copy via email.