Using storytelling to
transform healthcare

Narrative-based medicine is premised on the understanding that, knowingly and unknowingly, practitioners and patients together construct narratives over the course of their encounters; that these stories – with their multiple characters, conflicts and desires, subtleties and miscommunications – affect the nature and meaning of health events in all our lives; and that getting better at working with stories of all kinds has a powerful impact on both patient care and physician fulfillment.

Jointly led by an expert in narrative-based medicine and an accomplished writer, both of whom have extensive experience working with health professionals, this intensive program is taught in two parts: NBM Principles and Practices focuses on the theory and practice of narrative-based medicine while Writing and Narrative Craft seeks to improve learners’ creative and reflective skills as writers and readers.

The program is Canada’s only virtual intensive certificate program in narrative-based clinical practice. Domestic and international learners across all disciplines are welcome.

Target Audience

Healthcare practitioners from all clinical fields and disciplines; artists interested in learning about NBM; clinicians or educators interested in bringing narrative into their work; scholars interested in the intersection of creative writing and healthcare; those working in health communications, policy or advocacy. Writers at every level are welcome.

Program Dates

The Spring 2023 cohort starts on March 8th, 2023 and will run for 8 sessions. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm (ET).

  • March 8
  • March 22
  • March 29
  • April 19
  • May 3
  • May 17
  • May 31
  • June 14

Program Goals

  • Learn introductory theory and concepts of narrative-based clinical practice
  • Develop skills in narrative-based medicine through practical exercises in observation, attention, close reading, close listening, and in-class reflective writing related to clinical experiences
  • Discuss and develop ways to integrate narrative-based medicine techniques into daily clinical practice
  • Deepen craft of reflective and creative writing through writing exercises, lectures and discussion
  • Advance close reading skills via discussion of health-related and other published works in a variety of genres
  • Develop skills of respectful response and helpful editing/commentary by sharing participant work
  • Build an inter-professional community of practice, learning and teaching in order to foster person-centered care and reflective self-care


Participants in this continuing medical education offering will demonstrate improved abilities in reflectiveness, sensitivity to patients, teamwork and personal creativity, and heightened skills in close reading and reflective and creative writing.

Program Testimonials

  • "I found the course deeply affirming in ways that I had not quite expected. It truly helped me with the overwhelm and burnout of clinical work and personal loss during challenging times. The witnessing, and honouring of emotional and psychological need within this course really counteracted for me, some of the profound moral distress that was weighing me down. I really needed this unspoken confirmation that within medicine, actual people and their psychological health, matter. I hadn’t expected the course to be so therapeutic! I really want to thank you for providing the type of safe and sacred space that you did for all of us."
  • "I loved the materials, there are so many wonderful pieces curated here and the guest speakers were wonderful."
  • "Mind expanding, mind opening, attitude adjusting"
  • "I would recommend this course with high praise. Damian and Karen set the tone for a collaborative, supportive forum for us all."
  • "A breath of fresh air! Changes the way I relate to patients, art, and anything written."
  • "I loved the practical element. To 'force' writing through writing exercises, to immerse us in close reading - to get us to perform the acts associated with NBM. I personally feel that it is through the 'doing' that I learned most."