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Leslie T. Grover: Bringing Narrative Medicine to Baton Rouge in the Throes of a Pandemic

Leslie T. Grover, Ph.D., a current student in the Narrative Medicine CPA program, has always loved stories. She’s always been a writer and says that when she started listening to the stories of others, something changed within herself. 

“All this work around stories and life and healing is natural to us as human beings,” she says. “And as a Black person, my family has plenty of oral history that has helped many of us in hard times. Stories are life.”

Grover is an Assistant Professor and Researcher of Public Administration at Southern University and Founding President of Assisi House, Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to addressing health disparities.

She first came to the Narrative Medicine CPA program after attending a workshop on burnout and wanted to become a part of a larger movement. She’s now doing the work of Narrative Medicine in Baton Rouge during the throes of a pandemic, where COVID-19 numbers are surging

What are your impressions of COVID-19 so far?  

This disease is deadly. It scares me. I am watching people die and get sick and do all types of things. Every day is something different and crazy, and the poor leadership is killing people.  

What has the experience been like in Baton Rouge? 

Baton Rouge has tried to do the right thing. We are mandated to wear masks, and yet the numbers are still climbing. The anti-mask folks and other politicians have racialized and politicized this issue. Meanwhile, folks are dying. There are businesses that are taking this seriously and businesses who are not.

How do you use Narrative Medicine in your work and practice? 

I am using it right now to help frontline workers who are stressed out as well as those who are wanting to do more work in racism and community work.

What have the sessions you have facilitated been like? 

The sessions have been interesting and participants have reported feeling a lot better afterwards. 

How are you personally using narrative medicine to cope with this time? 

I have been using this time to increase my literary prowess. I've been reading and learning about creative nonfiction.

What are your hopes for the future? 

I want to continue my work in Narrative Medicine and truly develop more on the social justice aspect of this work. I want to expand the role of creative nonfiction as well.

Learn more about the Online Certification of Professional Achievement in Narrative Medicine program.