Narrative Medicine & The Creative Impulse
October 23 – 25, 2020
Early Bird Registration of $50 off tuition through September 18!
Standard Registration Open through October 16th, space permitting.
**Based on the latest updates from the World Health Organization, the CDC, and current travel and event restrictions here at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and around the world, we have made the necessary decision to postpone Narrative Medicine & The Creative Impulse until October 23-25th, 2020. Our schedule, faculty, and all programming will remain the same for those dates, and registration will remain active for these new dates. Early Bird pricing will remain in effect until September 18th, 2020, with standard registration until October 16th, space permitting! We hope to see you in October!**
Narrative Medicine is, at its core, a creative act. Acts of perception and attention ignite our narrative practice. Seeing, hearing, sensing, taking in that which we witness begins the process toward healing, and creative thinking fostered by narrative medicine training attunes us to those skills within ourselves. Creative Director of Narrative Medicine novelist Nellie Hermann has been our leader and inspiration in locating creativity at the heart of what we do.
The creativity of narrative medicine goes far beyond a reliance on fiction and film as convenient “case histories” of patients, or paintings as observable depictions of diseased bodies, or musical compositions as evidence of a composer’s psychopathology. Instead, narrative medicine recognizes the aesthetic capabilities of its practitioners as fundamental instruments necessary for effective care. We grow toward our own powers to attend to our patients through the schooled avenues of close reading, deep listening, and concentrated witnessing of works of art.
This workshop features world-renowned writers, artists, cinema scholars, and musicians who can reveal to us how to get the news from stories, images, and sounds. Join us in engaging interactions with works of art in varied forms and genres. Join us too in the creation of art—not only for the pleasure this brings, but for the community-building that cannot but follow from it. Narrative medicine is a radical practice with art and beauty at its center, not to distract us from the suffering we face, but to make the suffering visible, audible, and palpable so as to ease it.
Workshop Description and Objectives
This intensive workshop will offer rigorous skill-building in narrative competence and provides an intensive introductory experience to the methods and skills of narrative medicine. These practices are then applicable to unlimited clinical and non-clinical settings. Participants will gather for plenary presentations by the founders of the Division of Narrative Medicine alternating with small-group seminars and guest lectures by Robert O’Meally and Rika Burnham. Participants will learn effective techniques for attentive listening, adopting others’ perspectives, accurate representation, and reflective reasoning. Plenary presentations by faculty open up themes of how stories and art work, exploring concepts such as creativity, ethics, bearing witness, and empathy, while the small groups practice rigorous skills in close reading, creative writing, and responding to the writings of others. Close reading is an integral part of the workshop as is short prompted writing and discussion. Participants will gain access to our online resource page prior to the start of the workshop where all information necessary to prepare for the weekend is provided, including literary texts, film, visual art, and seminar articles in the field of narrative medicine by leading educators.
The Workshop will be held on Friday 1-7:30 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Sunday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. with full schedule below. For additional information, email Joseph Eveld at email@example.com or call the Division of Narrative Medicine at 212-305-1952.
The effective care of the sick requires deep and singular knowledge of the patient, competence, and commitment of the physician, and a sturdy bond of trust between the two. Despite the many sociocultural and professional factors that may divide doctors and patients, and the impact of political and economic pressures on health care as a whole, effective medical practice needs to replace hurried and impersonal care with careful listening and empathic attention. By fortifying clinical practice with the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by stories of illness, narrative training enables practitioners to comprehend patients’ experiences and to understand what they themselves undergo as clinicians. Professionalism, cultural competence, bioethical competence, interpersonal communication skills, self-reflective practice, and ability to work with health care teams can be strengthened by increasing narrative competence.
Many persons engaged in health care, including patients, providers, and literary scholars, are seeking fresh means to engage in powerful, person-centered care. Attentive listening, creative contact, singular accuracy, and personal fidelity are often missing from the routines of our practices. Among the many responses to the failures of our current health care system is Narrative Medicine. Developed at Columbia University in 2000, Narrative Medicine fortifies clinical practice with the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by stories of illness. We realize that the care of the sick unfolds in stories, and we recognize that the central event of health care occurs when the patient gives an account of self and the clinician skillfully receives it. Our experience and research have shown that the clinical routines and teaching methods of narrative medicine can transform practice and training. Time-tested teaching approaches can help participants to convey to their students the skills of empathic interviewing, reflective practice, narrative ethics, and self-awareness.
Come work and study with us for a weekend. Gather with colleagues from the world over to learn the narrative skills of close reading, attentive listening, and creative writing. Find out how your own imagination can reveal things you know unawares. Experience the deep bonds that can form among clinicians and those who care about health care in short periods of small group intensive narrative work. Recognize and be recognized as ones who have care within them.
Friday, October 23
- 1-2 p.m.: Registration and Refreshments
- 2-3 p.m.: Life Is Everywhere: The Perceiving Eye, the Storied World | Rita Charon, MD, PhD
- 3:15-4:45 p.m.: The Dreamer Position | Rika Burnham, DFA
- 5–6:30 p.m.: Small Group Seminars
- 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Cocktail Reception | Location: Coogan’s Restaurant: 4015 Broadway (between 168th & 169th St)
Saturday, October 24
- 8:30-9 a.m.: Continental Breakfast
- 9-10:30 a.m.: On Romare Bearden, Collage, and the Concept of Repair | Robert O’Meally, PhD
- 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Small Group Seminars
- 12:15-1:30 p.m.: Lunch
- 1:30-3 p.m.: Writing in Narrative Medicine: Harnessing the Creative Impulse | novelist Nellie Hermann, MFA
- 3:15-4:45 p.m.: Small Group Seminars
Sunday, October 25
- 8:30-9 a.m.: Continental Breakfast
- 9-10:30 a.m.: Exercising the Imagination: Watching Film as Creative Work | Maura Spiegel, PhD
- 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Small Group Seminars
- 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Lunch
- 1:15–2:15 p.m.: Small Group Seminars
- 2:30–4 p.m.: Creating Experience: Representation and Witnessing | Deepthiman Gowda, MD, MPH, MS and Craig Irvine, PhD
- Adjournment at 4 p.m.
We invite nurses, physicians, physician assistants, dentists, chaplains, social workers, therapists, public health professionals and other clinicians, as well as writers, academics, scholars, and all those interested in the intersection of narrative and medicine to join us. By combining these groups of participants, we can all learn how to unify what are sometimes divided efforts in patient care, integrating the ethical awareness and sensibility with the clinical recognition that can ensue.
Rita Charon, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics, Professor of Medicine at Columbia, narratologist and Jamesian, Executive Director of the Division of Narrative Medicine, author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness.
Nellie Hermann, MFA
Creative Director of the Division of Narrative Medicine, novelist, architect of Columbia’s faculty development in writing for clinicians, author of The Cure for Grief and The Season of Migration.
Craig Irvine, PhD
Director of the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia, Lecturer in Narrative Medicine at Columbia, phenomenologist, and memoirist, author of “The Other Side of Silence: Levinas, Medicine, and Literature.”
Maura Spiegel, PhD
Professor of English at Columbia, Interim Director of Columbia’s American Studies Program, Victorianist and cinema scholar, editor of The Grim Reader and author of the forthcoming biography of film director Sidney Lumet.
Deepthiman Gowda, MD, MPH, MS
Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University and Director of Clinical Practice of the Division of Narrative Medicine. Dr. Gowda is a general internist, photographer, and teacher/researcher in the teaching of visual arts in health care settings. He is also a current Macy Foundation Faculty Scholar.
Robert O’Meally, PhD
Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and founder and former director of the Center for Jazz Studies. His major interests are American literature, music, and painting. He has written extensively on Ralph Ellison, including The Craft of Ralph Ellison (Harvard, 1980), and a collection of papers for which he served as editor, New Essays on Invisible Man (Cambridge, 1989). Professor O’Meally has written a biography of Billie Holiday entitled Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday (Little, Brown, 1989) and a documentary on Holiday (which has been shown on public TV).
Rika Burnham, DFA
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 coauthored 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.
Comments From Recent Participants
I am seeing more the value of narrative medicine–bringing us beyond the superficial to appreciating more the richness and complexity of our lives
Tom McNeil, Social Worker
Cape Breton Cancer Centre, Nova Scotia, Canada
I wish I could attend a workshop every few months. There’s something about having a community of practice that replenishes and inspires. The workshop made me more confident to move forward with [my narrative] project: Why not me? Why not now?
Kathy Kirkland, Palliative Care Physician
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hanover, NH, USA
- Develop the narrative competence to nourish empathic doctor-patient relationships
- Learn narrative communication strategies for patient-centered and life-framed practice
- Build habits of reflective practice that enhance professionalism and nurture clinical communities
- Acquire pedagogic skills to teach methods of narrative medicine
- Replace isolation with affiliation, cultivate enduring collegial alliances, and reveal meaning in clinical practice
Held at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus, these weekends will provide opportunities for individual consultations with faculty, shared meals, informal social gatherings, and access to the cultural offerings of New York City.
- $1,000 for participants with income over $100,000/year
- $850 for income between $45,000 and $100,000/year
- $500 for income under $45,000/year
(Tuition includes meals during workshop hours, and select readings). Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations. When available, the early bird registration offers $50 off all tuition fees. Deadline for the early bird special will be updated with the opening of registration.
Discounts for Cohorts
Based on our experience that cohorts of participants from an institution are better able to continue their narrative learning and to ignite narrative projects at their home institution, we now offer a discount of $100 on the tuition for each individual who attends within a cohort of two or more. If you plan to come with a cohort, reach out to Joseph Eveld at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to register for the discount.
Participants are responsible for their own accommodations. Access the Columbia University Travel Portal to book preferred hotels with a discount. The Edge Hotel is the only hotel within walking distance, other hotels like Hotel Cliff, Saint Nicholas Inn and Aloft Harlem are a short subway ride away. Please visit Google Maps for an idea of proximity and location.
The workshop itself takes place in northern Manhattan, in the “Washington Heights” neighborhood, near Broadway and 168th Street (which is different than the main Columbia University campus at 116th St). There are many affordable apartments to rent within walking distance through airbnb.com. We recommend staying as far west as possible.
Continuing Education Credits
The Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 15.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
International activities for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
Physicians may earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for participation in some international activities. As of this writing, the AMA has agreements with the European Union of Medical Specialists and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Information about the different ways to earn AMA PRA credit through international activities can be found on the AMA website at www.ama-assn.org/go/internationalcme
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine is an ADA CERP recognized provider 11/2017-12/2021. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors; nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at www.ada.org/goto/cerp.
Participants: Continuing Education credits awarded for participation in the CE activity may not apply toward license renewal in all states. It is the responsibility of each participant to verify the requirements of his/her licensing board(s) and to report credits to the appropriate authority
In order to receive your continuing education certificate, you must attend the entire workshop and complete the evaluation.
15.5 contact hours will be awarded for NYS, NJ and CT licensed social workers and NYS licensed mental health counselors*. Licensed social workers for other states, please email email@example.com. Columbia University School of Social Work is a CSWE accredited institution.
CSSW is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers. Provider #SW‐0021
CSSW is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. Provider #MHC-0137
*Certificates will be emailed within 30 days of the workshop.
Columbia University School of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. The Columbia University School of Nursing designates this live activity for a maximum of 15.5 CNE credit hours. Nurses should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. If you require disability accommodations to for this event, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 212-854-2388 or firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 days in advance of the event. We will do our best to arrange accommodations received after this deadline but cannot guarantee them.
Share This Workshop
- Narrative Medicine & The Creative Impulse, October 23-25, 2020: #NMcreativeimpulse
- Basic Workshop: October 11-13, 2019: #fallNMworkshop
- Burnout in Healthcare: The Need for Narrative, March 8-10, 2019: #springNMworkshop #againstburnout
- Basic Workshop: October 12-14, 2018: #fallNMworkshop
- Narrative Palliative Care March 23-25, 2018: #palliativecarenmworkshop
- Basic Workshop: November 10-12,2017: #fallNMworkshop
- Basic Workshop: October 28 – 30, 2016 &October 16 – 18, 2015: #fallNMworkshop
- Race | Violence | Justice: The Need for Narrative, April 7 – 9, 2017: #SocialJustice2017
- Basic Workshop, A Call to Ethics: April 15 – 17, 2016: #NarrativeEthics2016 | More information
- Narrative Medicine Summer Institute: June 6 – 10, 2016: #NMedInstitute2016 | More information
- Advanced Workshop: June 23 – 26, 2016: #advancedNMworkshop | More information