understand what they mean, to attain rich and accurate interpretations of
these stories, and to grasp the plight of patients in all their complexity.”8
Beyond the clinical and scientific skills of medicine, such narrative competence
encourages health care professionals to attend to patients as individuals and as
protagonists in their own lives. Reciprocally, narrative competence might be
extended to patients, who stand to benefit from the similar humanizing of their
health care providers.
Certainly a narrativemedicine can help patients and physicians know
each other in
founding director of the McGovern Center for
Humanities and Ethics at University of Texas Medical School in Houston.
JaCk Coulehan , M.D., is an emeritus professor of medicine and senior fellow,
Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony
Brook University in New York.
sayantanI dasguPta , M.D., M.P.H., is an assistant clinical professor of pedi-
atrics; faculty, Master’s Program in NarrativeMedicine; and co- chair, University
Seminar in Narrative, Health, and Social Justice at Columbia University in New
York, New York.
toward a pluralistic
culture in which diversity and particularity replaced more universalizing terms,
due, in part, to the emerging social movements and identity politics of the 1960s.
While it is overly simplistic to think that the two cultures rhetoric simply vanished,
the emergence of narrativemedicine in the 1980s and the development of medical
humanities research in the 1990s and 2000s have also helped transform the binaries
of the mid-twentieth century into layered patterns of understanding. This
transformation of knowledge structures finds a
, NarrativeMedicine: Honoring
the Stories of Illness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006); Arthur Kleinman,
The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing and the Human Condition (New York: Basic
12. Irving Kirsch, Brett J. Deacon, Tania B. Huedo-Medina, Alan Scoboria, Thomas J.
Moore, and Blair T. Johnson, “Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-
Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration,” PLOS Medicine 5,
no. 2 (2008).
13. Sharon Begley, “Depressing News on Antidepressants,” Newsweek, Blog, February 25,
Empathy in Education
Team- Teaching “The Voices
Proj ect: Mental Health”
AMANDA M. CALEB AND
AL ICIA H. NORDSTROM
Rita Charon and other scholars of narrativemedicine have emphasized the need
for doctors to develop close listening skills that translate to meaningful engage-
ment, attentive interpretation, and better patient care.1 These skills that
emphasize both empathy and authenticity are fundamental to education more
broadly, particularly at Misericordia University, a small Catholic University
that enrolls approximately 1
humanities because of a felt inadequacy within
the health sciences to teach us all we need to know to care for patients. Human-
ists look to medicine as one place where momentous questions are encountered
quite literally in the flesh. The medical humanities depend on conversations and
collaborations across disciplines that directly impact how medicine is under-
stood and practiced.
In June 2013 I was among over four hundred attendees of a conference in Lon-
don celebrating twenty- five years of “narrativemedicine.” The conference fea-
tured the wide variety of
also online learning
Morrill Act (1862, 1890), 11, 12, 52,
60, 62, 67n5, 73, 111, 162, 179
Napolitano, Janet, 32
narrativemedicine, 132, 139
National Center for Education Statistics,
35. See also Department of Education
National Endowment for the
Humanities (NEH), 6, 119
National Humanities Alliance, 127– 128
National Schools of Science, 18
National Science Foundation (NSF), 40
neoliberal antihumanism, 149
New America Foundation, 8
New Deal, 93
new deal for the humanities, 5– 13, 62;
evaluating outcomes of, 6– 8; funding of,
6; organization of
://japanfocus.org/-John_Creighton-Campbell/2730, accessed April 24, 2009.
Casto, K. L., S. Krippner, and R. Tartz. 1999. “The Identification of Spiritual Content in
Dream Reports.” Anthropology of Consciousness 10 (1): 43–51.
Caudill, William, and Helen Weinstein. 1969. “Maternal Care and Infant Behavior in
Japan and America.” Psychiatry 32: 12–43.
CDI. 1973. Kyoto Shomin Seikatsushi [History of the lifestyle of common people of Kyoto].
Kyoto: Kyoto Shinyō Kinko.
Charon, Rita. 2009. “NarrativeMedicine as Witness for the Self-Telling Body.” Journal of
Applied Communication Research 37 (2) (May): 118–131.