Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Medical Humanities & Ethics, Professor of Medicine, and Executive Director of Columbia Narrative Medicine at Columbia University
Rita Charon is a general internist and literary scholar who originated the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. She completed the MD at Harvard in 1978 and the PhD in English at Columbia in 1999, concentrating on narratology and the works of Henry James. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, narrative medicine pedagogy, and health care team effectiveness. At Columbia, she directs the Foundations of Clinical Practice faculty seminar, the Virginia Apgar Academy for Medical Educators, the Narrative and Social Medicine Scholarly Projects Concentration Track, the required and elective Narrative Medicine curriculum for the medical school, and Columbia Commons: Collaborating Across Professions, a medical-center-wide partnership devoted to health care team effectiveness. She inaugurated and teaches in the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia. She has lectured and served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the US and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, and research funding from the NIH, the NEH, the American Board of Internal Medicine, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, and several additional private foundations. She was chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities to deliver the 2018 Jefferson Lecture, “the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.” Dr. Charon has published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, Narrative, Henry James Review, Poetics Today, The Drama Review, Partial Answers, and Literature and Medicine. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (Oxford University Press, 2006) and co-author of Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2017). She is co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (Routledge, 2002) and Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine (SUNY Press, 2008).
- M.D., Harvard University
- P.h.D., Columbia University
- Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2017), co-author
- Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (Oxford University Press, 2006)
- Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine (SUNY Press, 2008), co-editor
- Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (Routledge, 2002), co-editor
In the News
Rita Charon Reflects on a Life of Narrative Medicine
In the fall 2018 issue of Humanities, NEH Chairman Jon Parrish interviews Dr. Rita Charon.
Craig Irvine Writes an Appreciation of Rita Charon
Craig Irvine, who has known Dr. Rita Charon for 20 years, has written an appreciation of her life and career.