ASHEVILLE, N.C. — For many “narrative medicine” is a new term, but its foundation is in story—specifically the stories told from patient to doctor and from doctor to patients.
Columbia University Medical Center’s Dr. Rita Charon sought to bridge the gap between physicians and patients through the development of the school’s Narrative Medicine program. Now Lenoir-Rhyne University is partnering with Columbia University to bring Narrative Medicine to Western North Carolina.
On Feb. 7 and 8 Prof. Laura Hope-Gill, Director of the Graduate Writing Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville and Dr. Claire Hicks, M.D. of Four Seasons Hospice will present a Narrative Medicine Weekend Workshop on the Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville campus at 36 Montford Avenue.
Narrative is a source of knowledge. Narrative is an instrument of knowledge. Both are vital for patients and doctors alike as they work together to create an alliance based in empathy.
“Narrative Medicine fortifies clinical practice with the narrative competence to recognize, absorb, metabolize, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness,” according to Columbia’s website. “The Program in Narrative Medicine helps physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health professionals, chaplains,social workers, academics and all those interested in the intersection between narrative and medicine improve the effectiveness of care by developing these skills with patients and colleagues.”
Hope-Gill and Hicks attended training at the Columbia Program and have based the format for the weekend workshops upon the Columbia model.
Narrative Medicine is a systematized method for empathy-training for practitioners. Exercises to be discussed at Lenoir-Rhyne’s workshops include reflective writing, close reading, and listening engagement. The workshop will be a meeting place of arts, literature and clinical care, which will support care providers who can often suffer “burnout” and distance from their emotional selves.
The weekend workshop is one of several offerings for Narrative Medicine at Lenoir-Rhyne. It includes hands-on sessions in the three aspects of narrative training as well as insight from Dr. Hicks’ work in Hospice for patients with HIV and Professor Hope-Gill’s experiences in literature and writing. Participants will view the Oscar-winning Japanese film “Departures” prior to the event.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-407-4268.