Collaborative Healthcare: Interprofessional Practice, Education and Evaluation (JCIPE)


My interest in health humanities began in medical school when I took an elective on literature and medicine with Robert Coles. Reading works by Raymond Carver and William Carlos Williams, we explored the patient's experience of illness and probed the ethical and emotional challenges of giving care. It seemed as if a curtain had been pulled to reveal marvelous hidden rooms, places where new understandings of health and illness could be had. I recognized that some things that were true about illness could not be understood using a scientific lens. The singular, lived experience of those who are sick or giving care are best grasped through stories, and best told through forms such as art, literature, or song. During residency in internal medicine, I began writing about my clinical experiences with Rita Charon in the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. I found the experience revelatory. Writing became a path to better understand my patients as well as my own experience as a physician.