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Lauren Mitchell, M.S., Ph.D.

Lecturer, Narrative Medicine

Lauren is thrilled to be an Instructor with the Narrative Medicine CPA Program!  A Narrative Medicine program alum, she has sought to merge direct-care patient practice with rigorous intellectual thought.  She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Medicine, Health and Society while she also pursues a Master's of Social Work at the University of Tennessee to train as a psychotherapist.  

She is a full-spectrum doula, an author, and a professional speaker on issues of feminism and social justice.  Prior to defecting to academia, she was co-manager the Reproductive Family Planning/Ryan program at Bellevue Hospital In New York City (from whence she hails). During this time, she founded the country’s first formalized full-spectrum doula organization, The Doula Project, and subsequently spent the next ten years providing hands-on support to thousands of patients, and training and mentoring hundreds of doulas, activists, medical students, and support staff on the tenets of empathetic, non-judgmental support.  These experiences led to the publication of her book with colleague and Doula Project co-founder Mary Mahoney, The Doulas: Radical Care for Pregnant People, via Feminist Press in 2016.  Having absorbed so many patient and provider narratives with no clear place to put them, Lauren took an avid interest in Narrative Medicine as a concept when Columbia’s program first launched, and, in 2009 became part of their inaugural class of students.  This, and her work at Bellevue, gave her the opportunity to build Narrative Medicine curricula for medical students, OB/GYN residents, and attendings, and to help implement several students to evaluate the efficacy of NM for medical providers.  She left Bellevue in 2014 to pursue a doctorate in English with a focus on Medical Humanities and Performance Studies at Vanderbilt University.  Her current book project, Performing Surgery: Alienating Aesthetics and the Medical Imagination, leverages the arts to unpack the limitations of our current cultural definition of empathy.