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Why Narrative Medicine?

In My Own Country, Abraham Verghese describes his experience treating AIDS patients in the American South in the 1980s. He writes, “The language of science could not begin to capture this phenomenon ... did not begin to capture he heartache of the family, the tragic voyage of the patient, and my own grief at seeing this again and again.” 


Temple Narrative Medicine ProgramThe Narrative Medicine Program at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine exposes students and faculty to the humanity in accounts like Verghese’s – affirming what individuals working in clinical medicine innately know:  that there are things in the experience of both patient and care provider that the language of science cannot capture. The Coronavirus pandemic powerfully reaffirmed this truth through the heartbreaking and inspiring stories our students and faculty shared of their experiences on the front line.  

Immersion in narrative medicine presents creative, dynamic opportunities for careful reflection on the vastness and depth of human experience in the healthcare setting. Through storytelling and reflection, narrative medicine connects the insights of literature and the arts – and humanity – to the routine and daily practice of fast-paced, high-volume work in academic medicine. 

Clinical medicine is not divorced from experiences illuminated in literature and the arts but is instead inextricably linked to them.  



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