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VOLVOX: Making Narrative Medicine Happen Alumni Speaker Series

A Daughter’s Silence Amid AIDS: How Narrative Medicine Changed the Way I Tell my Story with Melanie Brooks, CPA'23

In the mid ‘80s and early ‘90s, secrecy and silence characterized the AIDS epidemic for many who contracted HIV because of the stigmatizing effect of the social climate at the time. For ten years, Melanie Brooks lived in the shadow of that secrecy and silence when her father learned he was HIV positive after receiving a blood transfusion during open-heart surgery. Twenty years after his death, she finally stepped out of the shadows to give voice to her story. In this talk, she will share her memoir A HARD SILENCE: One Daughter Remaps Family, Grief, and Faith When HIV/AIDS Changes It All, and discuss how familiarizing herself with narrative medicine’s core principle of representation has helped her to recognize that there’s space for stories like hers that veer away from the “expected” narratives of particular illnesses and gain confidence that her voice matters. She will talk about ways we can all encourage others to fnd creative expression for their lived experience of health and healthcare and own their individual voices, too.

Additional Speakers

Cherie Henderson, MS'14