Skip navigation Jump to main navigation

Health Guidance

Masking is strongly recommended in all indoor settings. New students and faculty and staff are required to sign an updated version of the Columbia Community Compact. Learn more.
Close alert

Danielle Spencer, Ph.D.

Academic Director, Narrative Medicine Program; Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Narrative Medicine

Academic Director of the Columbia University Narrative Medicine Program. Author of Metagnosis: Revelatory Narratives of Health and Identity (Oxford University Press, 2021) and co-author of Perkins-Prize-winning The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (OUP, 2017). Research interests include retrospective diagnosis, contemporary film and bioethics, and healthcare pedagogy; creative and scholarly work appears in diverse outlets, from Ploughshares to The Lancet. Formerly artist/musician David Byrne’s Art Director, Spencer holds a B.A. from Yale University, an M.S. in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University, a Ph.D. from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. She is a 2019 MacDowell Fellow and a 2022 Yaddo Fellow.

Education

  • Ph.D., Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • M.S., Columbia University
  • B.A., Yale University

Publications

Books

Essays / Articles / Chapters

  • “Narrative Medicine: The Book at the Gates of Biomedicine” Danielle Spencer. The Use and Abuse of Stories: New Directions in Narrative Hermeneutics, edited by Hanna Meretoja and Mark Freeman, Oxford University Press. [In Press]
  • “Illness Narratives.” Danielle Spencer. Handbook on the Sociology of Health and Medicine, edited by Alan Petersen, Edward Elgar. [In Press]
  • “Wizards, Masks, and Metagnosis: Is the Pandemic Truly Changing Us?” Literature and Medicine, vol. 39, no. 2, Fall 2021, pp. 198–211. PDF
  • Three Quarks Daily columnist, 2021–present
  • Psychology Today columnist, 2021–present
  • "Drifting Out to Infinity." Danielle Spencer. Ploughshares, vol. 45, no. 3, October 2019, pp. 86–115. (Ploughshares Solo Vol. 7, No. 4.) PDF
  • “Mutant Bodies, Human Viewers: Dissolving Boundaries in Logan.” Saljooq M. Asif, Madeline Disner, Folarin Odusola, Danielle A. Rojas, Danielle Spencer. Literature and Medicine, vol. 37, no. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 141–65. PDF
  • ​“Illness Doula: Adding a New Role to Healthcare Practice.” Annie Robinson, Danielle Spencer and Bradley Lewis. Journal of Medical Humanities, vol. 40, June 2019, pp. 199–210. PDF
  • ​"Review: 4 3 2 1: A Novel by Paul Auster". Danielle Spencer. The Mathematical Intelligencer, vol. 40, no. 1, March 2018, pp. 80–83. PDF
  • ​​​“Narrative Medicine.” Danielle Spencer. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine, edited by Miriam Solomon et al., Routledge, 2017, pp. 372–82. PDF
  • ​​​ “All Creatures Great and Small.” Danielle Spencer. The Lancet, vol. 386, 2015, pp. 22–23. PDF
  • “Sebald in Moszkva Tér.” Danielle Spencer. The Hungarian Review, vol. 6, no. 2, 2015, pp. 79–81. PDF
  • ​​“Critical Conversations: A 360º Clinical Portrait.” Danielle Spencer and Stephanie Adler Yuan. Esopus, vol. 22, 2015, pp. 137–52. PDF
  • ​​“Looking Back.” Danielle Spencer. Creative Nonfiction, vol. 47, 2013, pp. 34-38. PDF Included in Beautiful Flesh: A Body of Essays, edited by Stephanie G’Schwind, Center for Literary Publishing, 2017, pp. 35–43. 
  • ​​“Your Data is Showing.” Danielle Spencer. WIRED, vol. 13.11, 2005.
  • ​​“It’s Like a Thing of Everything….” Danielle Spencer.  davidbyrne.com, 2002. PDF