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Medical Humanities

Resources to explore and learn about the interdisciplinary topic of health & medical humanities

What is Narrative Medicine?

a feather quill draws an ekg line on a graph-lined background next to an inkwell

From a 2001 JAMA article by Dr. Rita Charon:

"The effective practice of medicine requires narrative competence, that is, the ability to acknowledge, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories and plights of others. Medicine practiced with narrative competence, called narrative medicine, is proposed as a model for humane and effective medical practice."

Narrative can be used effectively as communication between practitioners, from practitioner to patients and the public, and from the public to practitioners. The study of stories and poetry can be used to build empathy, encourage thinking and understanding of cultural contexts for treatment and disease, and learn to communicate effectively on a level understood by both physician and patient.

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