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Craig Irvine Writes an Appreciation of Rita Charon

Dr. Craig Irvine, Academic Director for the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University, has known Dr. Rita Charon for 20 years and has written an appreciation of her life and career, on the occasion of her being named 2018 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities.

Dr. Irvine cites many of Dr. Charon’s accomplishments, which in the past two decades alone have included: overseeing the development of a required narrative medicine curriculum across all four years of Columbia’s medical school; an interdisciplinary education program for students and faculty from eight of Columbia’s health profession schools and programs; narrative medicine workshops that have trained thousands of health professionals, artists, and writers; the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine and a low-residency certification program at Columbia; and collaborating with thinkers, writers, educators, and institutions worldwide to develop other programs.

“Most recently,” adds Dr. Irvine, “Rita was named chair of the newly formed Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, under which narrative medicine has advanced from a program to a division. I, for one, am in awe of the patience, the genius, the audacity, vision, and perseverance required for Rita to have accomplished all this, in face of the skepticism, dismissiveness, and, at worst, hostility of institutions and colleagues who lacked her capacity for attention and imagination.”

Read the full article and learn more about the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.