Program in Narrative Medicine

Rita Charon, MD

Director, Program in Narrative Medicine

The Program in Narrative Medicine, led by Dr. Rita Charon, is a multidisciplinary project to investigate the uses of narrative practices in clinical care and medical education. Created in 2000 by Dr. Charon, the field of narrative medicine has become influential in national and international efforts to improve clinician-patient relationships and to train clinicians in reflective practice. The program’s research agenda, teaching enterprise, and scholarly works are funded by NIH grants, private foundations, and philanthropy. NIH funding through an NHLBI K07 award and an R25 award has provided ten years of support for the program to deliver faculty development and curricular enhancement to teach social sciences, behavioral sciences, and humanities in the medical school. These funds have enabled the program to undertake outcomes research to test the consequences of clinical and pedagogic work in the field. Through the Macy Foundation, the Program has convened faculty and students from all schools on the health science campus in providing and studying the outcomes of Interprofessional education. The Arts-in-Medicine Project was launched in 2003 within the program to support, with philanthropic donations, the inclusion of visual arts in the clinical and teaching enterprise. In 2009, the program inaugurated the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, the first such graduate program in the field. In addition, the Program directs multiple required and elective curricular modules within CUMC for students, trainees, faculty, an staff and hosts national and international training workshops for clinicians and scholars in the field. Dr. Charon is a graduate of the Division of General Medicine Fellowship program, earned her PhD in English at Columbia during her tenure on the faculty of the division, and has brought a national and international reputation to the work of the division’s program.

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