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bwh narrative medicine initiative

narrative medicine symposium

narrative medicine resources

narrative medicine toolkit

‘The storytelling is really where the medicine is…’1

BWH’s recently launched Narrative Medicine Initiative is designed to enhance narrative communication skills as a framework for care, helping physicians to engage more empathetically and collaboratively with patients, colleagues and the broader medical community. It is particularly geared towards helping educators to gain an understanding of narrative medicine and reflective writing skills for pedagogical purposes within the setting of a teaching hospital. For additional information, see the Center for Faculty Development & Diversity’s pages dedicated to the annual Narrative Medicine Symposium and Narrative Medicine Resources. For inquiries about the initiative and upcoming programming, please email Christy Di Frances, PhD, MA.

Initiative Goals

  • Gain an understanding of narrative medicine and reflective writing skills for pedagogical purposes within the setting of a teaching hospital.
  • Enhance narrative communication skills as a framework for care, thus engaging more empathetically and collaboratively with patients, colleagues and the broader medical community.
  • Refine the ability to read and write across a range of genres (creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry) in a reflective manner that helps to clarify personal values and a sense of professional identity.
  • Develop the capacity to listen, read and write thoughtfully in order to discern patients’ unique narratives, so that these can be holistically incorporated into clinical care and translational research.
  • Recognize vulnerability (in the self and others), cultivate emotional equilibrium and foster self-awareness as crucial aspects of personal and professional well-being.
  • Learn about the personal and professional significance of storytelling as applicable to both clinical and research-oriented career pathways. 

Can Literature Heal?


1 Koven, S. Interviewed by Cooney E. ‘The Healing Power of Story.’ Harvard Medical School News. 15 May 2015.

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