Lenoir-Rhyne co-hosts “Medicine Beyond Medication” symposium, Oct. 18-19

Press release from Lenoir-Rhyne University:

Lenoir-Rhyne University, in partnership with Mountain Area Health and Education Center, will host an inaugural narrative healthcare symposium, Friday Oct. 18, to Saturday, Oct. 19, in Asheville, North Carolina. The event, funded by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, is tailored to healthcare practitioners in surgery, general practice, nursing, counseling, and public health to learn how story can affect their work and support their emotional well-being.

At 7 p.m, Oct. 18, physician and literary scholar Dr. Rita Charon will be the distinguished guest. Charon is the founder of the narrative medicine program at Columbia University in New York and also the 2019 Jefferson Scholar of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is the author of “Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness” and “Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics.” Her work has influenced many institutions, including Lenoir-Rhyne, to establish a graduate program in narrative healthcare, which is a composite of narrative medicine, medical humanities, expressive writing, and poetic medicine. LRU offers a narrative healthcare certificate at its Asheville location.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, a panel of practitioners from across all fields of healthcare will tell their experiences of using story in their work. All panelists were trained through Lenoir-Rhyne’s narrative healthcare program. Thoracic surgeon and author Daniel J. Waters launched his own program at the Mason Clinic in Mason City, Iowa. According to Waters, he started the program after he discovered the benefits of incorporating narrative practice into saving lives.

Breakout sessions based on the area of practice will follow the panel. Each session will present the evidence-based practices Charon formulated with her team at Columbia University. These practices prepare clinicians to listen, attend to, interpret, metabolize, and be moved by stories. In addition to being proven to improve outcomes, narrative practice also reduces burn-out and moral injury.

Dr. Jeff Heck, MAHEC chief executive officer, will present a lunch keynote, sharing how he includes story both in his medical practice and medical education. The afternoon will conclude with several sessions addressing topics in the healthcare industry.

The cost for day one is $50; day two is $150 or $180 for both days. Registration opened August 15 at narrativehealthcare.net.

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