Narrative Medicine and Medical Humanities First and Second Year Elective- August- December 2018

Narrative medicine and medical humanities Schedule, August 2018- May 2019

An elective class for first and second year students focused on the art of medicine and wellness based on the role of arts and humanities in health and health systems. It aims particularly to provide greater understanding of healthcare systems, the patient experience, the experience of becoming a doctor, and the physician-patient experience.  It focuses on discussion and active learning.

This course is scheduled to meet multiple times per month.  Students are not required to attend every session, and are welcome to choose sessions based on interest and availability (of course, as busy medical students with other events sometimes scheduled at noon, you may not be able to attend every session).  The schedule is intended to provide choices, enable you to miss some sessions and make up others during your first two years.  Students taking the course will, over the course of their first two years (includes the summer after first year for those who stay in Gainesville), be expected to attend a total of 24 session distributed into particular types of sessions- 6 sessions on readings- 3 book and three short readings; 6 sessions on movies/interactive- 3 movie and 3 theater/interactive(this will often include the discussion of short films); 6 sessions related to patient stories; 6 special events that can include- history of medicine talks, history of medicine discussions, Harn Museum nights, other events related to the medical humanities.

Class meets 12-1 Location:

Materials for discussion will be in the Maren Medical Student Reading Room when possible.

Optional events will be likely be in a different location- please check to find where!  These events will be added to the calendar as they develop.

August On Doctoring-

August 16  Illness narrative- Sandra Murphy-Pak, C2-33. Artist Sandra Murphy-Pak has pursued her art and the ways in which art provides self-expression, and a sense of well being.  As she experiences and lives with the impact of ALS, she continues to explore and produce art.

The remaining discussions in this period focus on the art of doctoring and the physician-patient relationship.   “There was humanity there in the rough”- From Of Human Bondage, by Somerset Maugham, about the experience of being a doctor, and what physician writer Abraham Verghese (author of Cutting for Stone, My Own Country) has described as one of the moments in his childhood when he was captured by the calling of medicine

August 23 HMEB 329 Movie: Of Human Bondage Of potential interest regarding this discussion: in this Ted Med talk, Abraham Verghese discusses how the book by Somerset Maugham led him to the calling of medicine.  Watch on YouTube and see more on

August 27 HMEB 329  Case/theater/interactive: Reader’s Theater: Face of Stone, adapted from William Carlos Williams, MD  (note: materials will be provided during the session). Discussing that moment when the patient has a story, becomes a person and not an assemblage of symptoms or a disease.

September 17 HMEB 329 Short reading discussions (2): William Carlos Williams and “The Practice” (this short reading is in the book “On Doctoring”- there are a number of copies in the Maren Room)!

September 19 HMEB 329 Book: Singular intimacies  by Danielle Ofri, MD

September/October- Narrative medicine and writing

September 24 HMEB 329 Movie: Healing Words (documentary)- note: A DVD of this movie will be available in the Maren Room in the Communicore Building

September 26 HMEB 329 What is narrative medicine- please watch these TED Talks to hear from the founder of Narrative Medicine, Rita Charon, and another leader in the field, Sayantani das Gupta, MD

October 1 HMEB 329 Illness Narrative

October 8  HMEB 329 Wired for story

October 15 HMEB 329 Book: The Poetry of Healing: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity and Desire.  By Rafael Campo, MD

October 22 HMEB 329  Short Reading Discussions The Halo, C. Dale Young, MD

November Research ethics

November 5 HMEB 329  Movie:  Miss Evers Boys.

November 6 HMEB 329  Theater/interactive: TBA

November 7 HMEB 329  Short reading discussion: “Bearing Response-Ability: Theater, Ethics and Medical Education.”  Kate Rossiter; In Room HMEB 420

November 19 HMEB 329  Short reading discussion


November 26  HMEB 329  Patient story

November 28 HMEB 329   Book:   The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Rebecca Skloot.

December HIV/AIDS

December 3 HMEB 329   Movie Wilhelmina’s war- available via Kanopy– note: you may need to be on the UF server or if off campus going through the VPN to access.

December 5 HMEB 329   Movie Carandiru

December 10 HMEB 329   Theater/interactive Readings from Patient A

December 12 HMEB 329   Short reading discussions Selections from AIDS Sutra

December 17 HMEB 329   Patient story

December 19 HMEB 329   Book 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa

Topics for Spring 2018-2019 will include: Abilities and Disabilities, What is healthy eating?, Gender and Sexuality, Disease and Stigma, How do patients make medical decisions.

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.
  3. Keep track of these attendances.
  4. 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.
  5. Write an additional 4th year reflection expanding on material from the course and incorporating experiences in third and fourth year.

Part of the Requirements

type of session number of attendances required (breakdown of total in parentheses)
Reading: Book, Short Reading/Poem 6 total, broken down to: (3) and (3)
Film/Interactive: Full Length Documentary/Fictional Film 6 total, broken down to: (3) and (3)
Theater, other event, short film, activity/project (3)
Patient story – in person narrative, video, or podcast 6
Special event 6

*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.