American Board of Internal Medicine, Presidential Fund Award

Narrative Medicine Fellowships: Professional Formation Through Stories

This Presidential Fund Award was granted by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation ("ABIM") upon the close of the successful ABIM Forum in Park City, Utah in Summer 2015 on the theme of narrative education and storytelling in medicine. As a fitting sequel to a vigorous endorsement of the importance of narrative skills for physicians, the ABIM Foundation agreed to fund this project as a means to intensify the narrative training given to medical students and residents. The award was made to Columbia University in December 2015 to support Narrative Medicine Fellowships granted in August 2016. “Narrative Medicine Fellowships: Professional Formation through Stories” proposed to deliver modest funding to graduates of the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University to design and execute interventions in settings of clinical training to enhance trainees’ professional identity formation with methods of narrative medicine.

Results of previous Narrative Medicine Fellowships and interim progress reports from the 2016-2017 cohort demonstrate the power of medical students and even pre-medical students to act as change agents who can bring rigorous narrative knowledge and competence into the mainstream of medical education and practice. This process encourages empathy, patient-centeredness, and clinician wellbeing in the practice of internal medicine. It was suggested that narrative and storytelling methods are powerful means to develop increased self-awareness, empathy, perspective-taking, pleasure, and work engagement in clinicians and trainees and increased health care team effectiveness.

The partnership between the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and the Program in Narrative Medicine of Columbia University exemplifies a well-working organization/member collaboration. We feel proud that our grass-roots work in developing narrative medicine and training a cadre of pre-medical and medical students in rigorous clinically necessary skills has earned the endorsement of our Board, and we are deeply grateful for the support this award represents.

In August 2016, the Directors of the Program in Narrative Medicine selected five fellowship proposals to fund for 2016-17. Two of these proposals were designated as American Board of Internal Medicine awards, selected because their goals were to contribute to clinical trainees’ professional formation through narrative medicine training. The following executive summaries describe the two ABIM award proposals: “Envisioning Narrative Competence in Medical Education: A Qualitative Study of Narrative Medicine Alumni in Medical School” by Faiz Jiwani and Jenna Reece and “Exploring the Implementation of Narrative Medicine Workshops among Brooklyn Hospital Pediatric Residents” by Apurva Khedagi and Ssanyu Birigwa.

Grant Duration: December 2015 – June 2017