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Narrative Medicine Program

Our mission is to focus on the human side of medicine, to increase the satisfaction and fulfillment of students and physicians, and to chronicle the amazing world of Temple University Hospital. We do this through a celebration of and emphasis on stories and storytelling. Check out our podcast "Narratives of North Broad" >>

The facts are well reported: Doctors too often feel isolated, frustrated, and burned out. Their humanity is challenged. The focus on the patient and patient’s story is often overlooked and devalued in the rush and crush. Students come into medical school full of empathy but in their education and training this often erodes.

Our goal is to protect and support this empathy, to nourish the humanism that brings physicians into the profession, and to teach the skills of narrative that help at the bedside and beyond.

Our program has curricular and extracurricular components. Reflective writing forms a significant component of the Professional Identity Formation thread in the MD curriculum. Electives in medical humanities range from exploration of narrative medicine to photo storytelling to improvisational acting. Students also conceive and complete individual or group projects for elective credit under the guidance of our faculty.

Extracurricular activities include a wide array of writing and narrative medicine workshops—some led by students—for students, residents, and hospital staff. “Narrative Medicine Talks” is our regular speaker series, and we convene fall and spring Story Slams for the Lewis Katz School of Medicine and Temple Hospital Community.

Our program gives medical students and physicians skills and opportunities to reflect on their experiences, to find and celebrate meaning in their work, and to appreciate the value of the patient’s story in patient care.  

We encourage publication and dissemination of our work in medical journals and the lay press. This narrative medicine page is home to much of our student writing, and each year students compile and publish The Pulse, our local literary magazine.

Stories are an indispensable part of medicine. Along with the physician’s touch, they are at the core of the patient-physician relationship. Stories have the power to heal, inspire, build relationships and change the world.

Douglas Reifler, MD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Medical Humanities
Michael Vitez, Director of Narrative Medicine
Naomi Rosenberg, MD, Assistant Director of Narrative Medicine

EXPAND CLOSE

Tales of Covid

October 28, 2020
By: Rebecca Mayeda, Class of 2023
September 21, 2020
By: Joe Corcoran, Class of 2021
August 12, 2020
By: Michael Vitez
August 02, 2020
By: Jean Lee, MD
July 22, 2020
By: By Heather R. Gochnauer, MD, LKSOM Class of 2020

By an LKSOM student, shared in the voice of their father

July 16, 2020
By: Anonymous

From the Class of 2022

July 13, 2020
By: Michael Vitez

So exhausted she limped to her car

July 08, 2020
By: Michael Vitez

Unbearable sadness for patients, unbounded pride in Temple response.

July 01, 2020
By: Michael Vitez