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Rita Charon

Rita Charon is Professor of Medicine and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. She completed her MD at Harvard Medical School and the Ph.D. in English at Columbia. A general internist, Dr. Charon took her Ph.D. when she realized how central is telling and listening to stories to the work of doctors and patients. She directs the Narrative Medicine curriculum for Columbia’s medical school and teaches literary theory, narratology, and creative writing to students and faculty at the medical center and in the graduate program in Narrative Medicine. Her literary scholarship focuses on aspects of narratology and the novels and tales of Henry James. Her research projects center on the outcomes of training health care professionals in narrative capacities. She is currently Principal Investigator on a National Institutes of Health project to enhance the teaching of social science and behavioral science in medical schools. Her work in narrative medicine has been recognized by societies including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy on Healthcare Communication, and the Society of General Internal Medicine. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residence. She lectures internationally and has published widely in journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and The Henry James Review, Narrative, and Partial Answers. She is author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness, co-editor of Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine and Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics, and co-author of the forthcoming Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine.

Rita Charon at TEDxAtlanta