Our Team

Core Collaborators at VP&S

  • Owen Lewis, MD, PHD

  • David Hellerstein, Ph.D.

  • Ben Schwartz, MD

  • Rita Charon, MD, PHD

    Executive Director

    Rita Charon is a general internist and literary scholar at Columbia University who originated the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor of Medicine and founder and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia. She completed the MD at Harvard in 1978 and the PhD in English at Columbia in 1999, concentrating on the works of Henry James. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice, and health care team effectiveness. At Columbia, she directs the Foundations of Clinical Practice faculty seminar, the Narrative and Social Medicine Scholarly Projects Concentration Track, the required Narrative Medicine curriculum for the medical school, and Columbia Commons: Collaborating Across Professions, a medical-center-wide partnership devoted to health care team effectiveness. She inaugurated and teaches in the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia. She has lectured or served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the U.S. and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice. She has received a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and research funding from the NIH, the NEH, the American Board of Integral Medicine, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, and several additional private foundations. She has published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, Narrative, Henry James Review, Partial Answers, and Literature and Medicine. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (Oxford University Press, 2006) and co-author of Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2017). She is co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (Routledge, 2002) and Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine (SUNY Press, 2008). She is working on a book about creativity and doubt in the sciences and the arts. View a list of Rita's publications.

  • Gail Halaban, MFA

  • Joseph Eveld, MS, MFA

    Program Manager

    Joseph Eveld, MS, MFA, joined the Narrative Medicine program with a background in publishing and creative writing. As an adolescent he survived over two years of treatment for an aggressive form of bone cancer. Having turned to writing as a means to cope with this experience, as well as developing a passion for caregiving from both the patient and provider perspective, he felt as if he’d found “home” when he discovered Narrative Medicine practice. While completing his MS in the program, he studied Narrative Therapy and creative writing as applied in counseling for patients coping with trauma and terminal illness, as well as healthcare and social justice inequities represented in the literature and activism of indigenous cultures in the United States. He also has a BA in English from Northeastern University, and completed his MFA in Fiction at the Creative Writing program at Boston University. He was a finalist for Glimmer Train Magazine’s Short Story Award for New Writers, he has poetry published in the Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, and is currently working on his first novel.

  • Adele Tutter, MD (NYSPI)

  • Jane Bogart, EdD, MCHES

  • Hetty Cunningham, MD

  • Delphine Taylor, MD

  • Michael Devlin, MD

  • Jonathan Amiel, MD

  • Benjamin Lebwohl, MD

  • Maura Spiegel, PhD

    Associate Director

    Maura Spiegel, PhD, is Senior Lecturer of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on fiction and film, and is a founder and Associate Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine. She is the co-author of The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying and Living On (Anchor/Doubleday), The Breast Book: An Intimate and Curious History (Workman), which was a Book-of-the-Month Club Quality Paperbacks selection. She co-edited the journal Literature and Medicine (Johns Hopkins University Press) with Rita Charon, MD, PhD, for seven years. She has written for The New York Times, and has published essays on the history of the emotions, Charles Dickens, diamonds in the movies, among many other topics. She is currently writing a book about the life and films of Sidney Lumet for St. Martin’s Press. View a list of Maura's publications.

  • Craig Irvine, PhD

    Academic Director

    Craig Irvine, PhD, is Program Director of the Master's program in narrative medicine and a founder and Academic Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. He holds a doctorate in philosophy. For more than 15 years, he has been designing and teaching cultural competency, ethics, Narrative Medicine, and Humanities and Medicine curricula for residents, medical students, physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, dentists, and other health professionals. He has over 20 years of experience researching the history of philosophy, phenomenology, and narrative ethics, and over 25 years of experience teaching ethics, humanities, the history of philosophy, logic, and narrative medicine at the graduate, undergraduate, and preparatory school levels. He has published articles in the areas of ethics, residency education, and literature and medicine and has presented at numerous national and international conferences on these and other topics. View a list of Craig's publications.

  • Nichole Furlonge, MA, PhD

  • Rika Burnham, DFA

  • David Leventhal, BA

  • Carrie McGee, MA

  • Marjorie Korn, MA

  • Aubrie-Ann Jones, MS, MFA

Columbia Commons IPE (Interprofessional Education)

  • Michael Devlin, MD

  • Mary Sormanti, PhD, MS, MSW

  • Letty Moss-Salentijn, DDS, PhD

  • Mark Nathanson, MD

  • Kris Slesar, LCSW, MS

  • Ssanyu Birigwa, MS

  • Naomi Kalish, MA

Master of Science in Narrative Medicine (School of Professional Studies)

  • Craig Irvine, PhD

    Academic Director, Program in Narrative Medicine

    Craig Irvine, PhD, is Program Director of the Master's program in narrative medicine and a founder and Academic Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. He holds a doctorate in philosophy. For more than 15 years, he has been designing and teaching cultural competency, ethics, Narrative Medicine, and Humanities and Medicine curricula for residents, medical students, physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, dentists, and other health professionals. He has over 20 years of experience researching the history of philosophy, phenomenology, and narrative ethics, and over 25 years of experience teaching ethics, humanities, the history of philosophy, logic, and narrative medicine at the graduate, undergraduate, and preparatory school levels. He has published articles in the areas of ethics, residency education, and literature and medicine and has presented at numerous national and international conferences on these and other topics. View a list of Craig's publications.

  • Maura Spiegel, PhD

    Co-Director, Program in Narrative Medicine

    Maura Spiegel, PhD, is Senior Lecturer of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on fiction and film, and is a founder and Associate Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine. She is the co-author of The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying and Living On (Anchor/Doubleday), The Breast Book: An Intimate and Curious History (Workman), which was a Book-of-the-Month Club Quality Paperbacks selection. She co-edited the journal Literature and Medicine (Johns Hopkins University Press) with Rita Charon, MD, PhD, for seven years. She has written for The New York Times, and has published essays on the history of the emotions, Charles Dickens, diamonds in the movies, among many other topics. She is currently writing a book about the life and films of Sidney Lumet for St. Martin’s Press. View a list of Maura's publications.

  • Rita Charon, MD, PhD

    Executive Director, Program in Narrative Medicine

    Rita Charon is a general internist and literary scholar at Columbia University who originated the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor of Medicine and founder and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia. She completed the MD at Harvard in 1978 and the PhD in English at Columbia in 1999, concentrating on the works of Henry James. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice, and health care team effectiveness. At Columbia, she directs the Foundations of Clinical Practice faculty seminar, the Narrative and Social Medicine Scholarly Projects Concentration Track, the required Narrative Medicine curriculum for the medical school, and Columbia Commons: Collaborating Across Professions, a medical-center-wide partnership devoted to health care team effectiveness. She inaugurated and teaches in the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia. She has lectured or served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the U.S. and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice. She has received a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and research funding from the NIH, the NEH, the American Board of Integral Medicine, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, and several additional private foundations. She has published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, Narrative, Henry James Review, Partial Answers, and Literature and Medicine. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (Oxford University Press, 2006) and co-author of Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2017). She is co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (Routledge, 2002) and Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine (SUNY Press, 2008). She is working on a book about creativity and doubt in the sciences and the arts. View a list of Rita's publications.

  • Danielle Spencer, PhD, MS

    Associate Academic Director, Program in Narrative Medicine

    Danielle R. Spencer, PhD, is the Associate Academic Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University as well as a faculty member in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bioethics department. She is a co-author of The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2017) and her work has appeared in The Lancet, Creative Nonfiction, Esopus, The Hungarian Review, WIRED, andThe Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Medicine. She worked as artist/musician David Byrne’s Art Director for many years, collaborating and exhibiting a range of projects, as well as working with photographer Nan Goldin. Spencer holds a BA from Yale University and an MS in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University, and is completing a PhD in American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz. Learn more about Danielle at www.daniellespencer.comView a list of Danielle's publications.

  • Sayantani Dasgupta, MD

    Lecturer

    Sayantani DasGupta is an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics and a faculty member of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. She also teaches in the graduate program in Health Advocacy at Sarah Lawrence College, and is a prose faculty member in the summer writing conference Writing the Medical Experience at Sarah Lawrence College. Dr. DasGupta is co-author of The Demon Slayers and Other Stories: Bengali Folktales (1995), author of Her Own Medicine: A Woman's Journey from Student to Doctor (1999), and co-editor of Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies (2007). Her work has appeared in journals including The Lancet, JAMA, Pediatrics, The Hastings Center Report, Literature and Medicine, Teaching and Learning in Medicine, and The Journal of Medical Humanities. She is an associate editor of the journal Literature and Medicine, and her current interests are in issues of gender and race in illness narratives, and genomic narratives in film. Dr. DasGupta holds an AB from Brown University and an MD/MPH from Johns Hopkins University. View a list of Sayantani's publications.

  • Michael Davidovits, PhD, LCSW

    Lecturer

    Michael Davidovits, PhD, LCSW, is a lecturer in the Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University, and a clinical supervisor in the Family Medicine Residency Program at the Columbia University School of Medicine. He is also a teaching faculty member and Assistant Director of the Project for Adolescents and their Families at the Ackerman Institute. Dr. Davidovits has offered trainings and workshops on conducting family therapy with adolescents and narrative medicine interventions in primary care settings. He maintains a psychotherapy practice in Manhattan.

  • Edgar Rivera Colón, MA, PhD

    Lecturer

    Edgar Rivera Colón, PhD, is a lecturer in the Program in Narrative Medicine teaching qualitative research methods. Dr. Rivera Colón is a medical anthropologist who trains frontline African American and Latino/a HIV/AIDS activists in the use of ethnographic research methods in developing community-level interventions. For the last fifteen years, he has been conducting ethnographic research on New York City’s House Ball community. He is an expert on Latino gay and bisexual male sexual cultures and HIV and regularly trains public health professionals in cultural competency in working with Latino/LGBTQ communities. Recently, Dr. Rivera Colón published “Between the Runway & the Empty Tomb: Bodily Transformation and Christian Praxis in New York City’s House Ball Community” in an edited volume by Dr. Samuel Cruz entitled Christianity and Culture in the City: A Postcolonial Approach. He is now working on a co-edited volume entitled Queer Latino/a Theologies and the Churches.

  • Nellie Hermann, MFA

    Creative Director, Program in Narrative Medicine

    Nellie Hermann, Creative Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, is a graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at Columbia University. She has published two novels, The Cure for Grief and The Season of Migration, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice. Her non-fiction has appeared in an anthology about siblings, Freud’s Blindspot (Free Press: 2010), as well as in Academic Medicine. She has been an invited resident to numerous artist residencies such as The Millay Colony, The UCross Foundation, and The Saltonstall Foundation of the Arts. Over the last ten years, she has taught fiction and narrative medicine to undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, and clinicians of all sorts, and has given conference addresses in Iowa, California, Seoul, Korea, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2016 NEA Literature fellowship and was recently awarded a 2017 Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. View a list of Nellie's publications.

  • Rika Burnham, DFA

    Lecturer

    A leading theorist and practitioner of art museum gallery teaching, Rika Burnham serves as Head of Education at the Frick Collection in New York and project director for Teaching Institute for Museum Educators/TIME at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Previously, she was a museum educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. An influential author in her field, her publications include several essays on museum education (National Gallery of Australia, 2015; The Barnes Foundation, 2015; and SITE Santa Fe, 2015) and a catalogue essay in Pierre Bonnard: The Late Still Lifes and Interiors (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009). Teaching in the Art Museum: Interpretation as Experience (Getty, 2011), which she co-authored with Elliott Kai-Kee, won a PROSE Award for best title in education from the Association of American Publishers. Burnham holds a degree in art history from Harvard University and was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2014. She teaches The Literature of Art in the Master's Program.

  • Marsha Hurst, PhD

    Lecturer

    Marsha Hurst, PhD, is on the faculty of Columbia's Narrative Medicine Program and is a research scholar at Columbia University's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, where she is coordinating a faculty seminar on Narrative Genetics. She is also a consultant on health advocacy programs, issues, and education with particular interest in women's health and aging. She has consulted for the Medicare Rights Center and is advisor to their advocacy programs. In addition, Hurst is currently working with the women's health reform coalition, Raising Women's Voices, on a project to help promote the responsible and accountable use of stories by women's health advocates. From 1998 through 2007, Hurst was the director of the graduate program in health advocacy at Sarah Lawrence where she oversaw the remodeling of the master's program to strengthen its focus on promoting and protecting patients' rights, enhancing patient care, and ensuring accessibility to care. The author of numerous publications, Hurst co-edited, with Sayantani DasGupta, Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies, an anthology of women's illness narratives (Kent State University Press, 2007). She is also co-founder and vice president of the Westchester End-of-Life Coalition and a member of the New York State Palliative Care Education and Training Council. Hurst earned a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a PhD from Columbia University and completed a National Institute of Mental Health post-doctoral fellowship in community medicine and medical sociology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. View a list of Marsha's publications.

  • Catherine Rogers, MS, MFA

    Lecturer

    Catherine Rogers is a lecturer in the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. She has facilitated Narrative Medicine seminars at Mt. Sinai, Brooklyn Lutheran, and Columbia Presbyterian hospitals and at Aristotle University Thessaloniki Schools of English and Medicine. A writer and performer, her plays have been seen at Dixon Place, Manhattan Theatre Source, Salvage Vanguard, and Cleveland Public Theatre. She was Fulbright Specialist and Senior Scholar in Greece (2013, 2009) and serves as a Fulbright peer reviewer. Her work is published in the Gettysburg Review, Voices Made Flesh: Performing Women’s Autobiography (U Wisconsin), Our Changing Journey to the End: Reshaping Death (Praeger). As Assistant Professor Humanities, she taught creative and expository writing at NYU. Catherine was a James A. Michener Fellow at the University of Texas where she earned the MFA in Playwriting. She holds the MS in Narrative Medicine from Columbia. Catherine is a member of the Dramatists Guild. View a list of Catherine's publications.

  • Lynne Bamat Mijangos, RN, BSN, MSW, MFA, MS

    Practicum Supervisor

    Lynne Bamat Mijangos, RN, BSN, MSW, MFA, MS, is the Practicum Supervisor for Columbia’s Master's Program in Narrative Medicine. Before engaging in the field of Narrative Medicine, she trained at Sisters of Charity Hospital School of Nursing and worked in emergency and recovery room nursing. Her interest in child development led to advocacy work for early intervention and prevention programs in primary schools. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Masters in Social Work, opened a private practice in adult and child therapy, and worked for many years training professionals and paraprofessionals, consulting in schools, writing a supervision manual, and, eventually, becoming Project Director for the New York State Primary Mental Health Project and an associate professor at the University of Rochester. After moving to New York City she earned an MFA in creative nonfiction at The New School University. In addition to her work with the Master's Program in Narrative Medicine, she facilitates reading and writing workshops for nurses, physicians, psychologists, and social workers. She is an author and co-editor of Narrative in Social Work Practice: The Power and Possibility of Story, which will be published by Columbia University Press in 2017.

  • Vivian Heller

    Lecturer

  • Courtney Gillette

    Lecturer

Directors of Columbia Narrative Medicine

  • Rita Charon, MD, PhD

    Executive Director

    Rita Charon is a general internist and literary scholar at Columbia University who originated the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor of Medicine and founder and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia. She completed the MD at Harvard in 1978 and the PhD in English at Columbia in 1999, concentrating on the works of Henry James. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice, and health care team effectiveness. At Columbia, she directs the Foundations of Clinical Practice faculty seminar, the Narrative and Social Medicine Scholarly Projects Concentration Track, the required Narrative Medicine curriculum for the medical school, and Columbia Commons: Collaborating Across Professions, a medical-center-wide partnership devoted to health care team effectiveness. She inaugurated and teaches in the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia. She has lectured or served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the U.S. and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice. She has received a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and research funding from the NIH, the NEH, the American Board of Integral Medicine, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, and several additional private foundations. She has published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, Narrative, Henry James Review, Partial Answers, and Literature and Medicine. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (Oxford University Press, 2006) and co-author of Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2017). She is co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (Routledge, 2002) and Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine (SUNY Press, 2008). She is working on a book about creativity and doubt in the sciences and the arts. View a list of Rita's publications.

  • Craig Irvine, PhD

    Academic Director

    Craig Irvine, PhD, is Program Director of the Master's program in narrative medicine and a founder and Academic Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. He holds a doctorate in philosophy. For more than 15 years, he has been designing and teaching cultural competency, ethics, Narrative Medicine, and Humanities and Medicine curricula for residents, medical students, physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, dentists, and other health professionals. He has over 20 years of experience researching the history of philosophy, phenomenology, and narrative ethics, and over 25 years of experience teaching ethics, humanities, the history of philosophy, logic, and narrative medicine at the graduate, undergraduate, and preparatory school levels. He has published articles in the areas of ethics, residency education, and literature and medicine and has presented at numerous national and international conferences on these and other topics. View a list of Craig's publications.

  • Nellie Hermann, MFA

    Creative Director

    Nellie Hermann, Creative Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, is a graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at Columbia University. She has published two novels, The Cure for Grief and The Season of Migration, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice. Her non-fiction has appeared in an anthology about siblings, Freud’s Blindspot (Free Press: 2010), as well as in Academic Medicine. She has been an invited resident to numerous artist residencies such as The Millay Colony, The UCross Foundation, and The Saltonstall Foundation of the Arts. Over the last ten years, she has taught fiction and narrative medicine to undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, and clinicians of all sorts, and has given conference addresses in Iowa, California, Seoul, Korea, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2016 NEA Literature fellowship and was recently awarded a 2017 Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. View a list of Nellie's publications.

  • Maura Spiegel, PhD

    Co-Director

    Maura Spiegel, PhD, is Senior Lecturer of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on fiction and film, and is a founder and Associate Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine. She is the co-author of The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying and Living On (Anchor/Doubleday), The Breast Book: An Intimate and Curious History (Workman), which was a Book-of-the-Month Club Quality Paperbacks selection. She co-edited the journal Literature and Medicine (Johns Hopkins University Press) with Rita Charon, MD, PhD, for seven years. She has written for The New York Times, and has published essays on the history of the emotions, Charles Dickens, diamonds in the movies, among many other topics. She is currently writing a book about the life and films of Sidney Lumet for St. Martin’s Press. View a list of Maura's publications.

  • Cindy Smalletz, MS, MA

    Program Director

    Cindy Smalletz, MS, MA, is one of the first graduates of the Columbia University Narrative Medicine Master's program. She lectures on narrative medicine to both students and clinicians, and is the creator, designer, and director of the first online certificate program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. She also holds an MA in Instructional Design and Technology, and while pursuing her MS, she worked for the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center where she focused on purposefully merging technology and education for students, faculty, and research grants. By bringing together narrative medicine with education and technology, she plans to change health care around the world through better training, communication, self-awareness and action.

  • Mario de la Cruz, MS

    Associate Director

  • Deepthiman Gowda, MD, MPH, MS

    Clinical Practice Director

    Deepthiman Gowda, MD, MPH, MS, is Director of Clinical Practice of the Program in Narrative Medicine and is the first Assistant Dean for Medical Education at the newly founded Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, where he is working to introduce Narrative Medicine into the curriculum. To date, Dr. Gowda’s efforts have focused on care to underserved communities, clinical skills education, interprofessional education, and narrative medicine. Dr. Gowda is a general internist, photographer, and researcher looking at the use of visual art in health care settings. He has also conducted research on the effects of introducing narrative medicine methods into primary care clinics in Manhattan on team function and is a former Macy Scholar.