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Dr. Rita Charon Named the 2018 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities

Dr. Rita Charon, scholar, physician, originator of the field of Narrative Medicine, and faculty for the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University, will deliver the 2018 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. The lecture is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a federal agency created in 1965, selects the lecturer through a formal review process that includes nominations from the general public. NEH awards more than $120 million in annual grants that support understanding and appreciation of cultural topics including art, ethics, history, languages, literature, law, music, philosophy, religion, and others. The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is the agency’s signature annual public event

Dr. Charon will deliver the lecture, titled “To See the Suffering: The Humanities Have What Medicine Needs,” on Monday, October 15, at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public and will stream online at

Tickets to the lecture are free of charge and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets will be available starting on Wednesday, September 19, at or (202) 606-8340.

“In her pioneering work in narrative medicine, Rita Charon has shown the amazing power of the humanities in healing both mind and body,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “She has played an essential role in reminding us that the humanities also enrich the lives of caregivers, not just their patients. Her scholarship gets to the very core of the human condition.”

Read the full story at the National Endowment for the Humanities and learn more about the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.