This program introduces the tenets and practices of narrative-based medicine for those coming to the field with little or no experience. The program includes live lectures, small group work, readings in narrative-based medicine, and exercises in creative and reflective writing. Guest speakers will include accomplished artists/writers and specialists in narrative-based medicine.

Part 1
NBM Principles and Practices

Session 1 – Introduction to NBM & Program Overview
Some definitions; key principles and concepts in narrative-based medicine; overview of the certificate program and what to expect; introductory activities

Session 2 – Illness and Disability Narratives
Exploring illness and disability narratives through discussion, close reading/listening activities and reflective writing; reflecting on our own stories

Session 3 – Narrative Healthcare Strategies
A discussion of narrative interventions in healthcare contexts and strategies for practice; narrative approaches in clinical communication, practitioner self awareness, and self care

Session 4 – NBM Pedagogy
Pedagogical goals of NBM; use in medical education; introduction to facilitation issues; designing NBM sessions; group activities; wrap up

Part 2
Narrative Craft

Session 5 – Close Reading and Reflective Writing
Introducing participants to linked methods of close reading and reflective writing through a set of practical exercises, discussion of health-related texts, and group activities.

Session 6 – The Heart of the Story
Prose intensive: a deep dive into character, detail, and the shape of narrative in fiction and memoir; creative and reflective writing activities to develop a personal voice.

Session 7 – Beyond Narrative
Examining the nature and uses of poetic language, theatrical dialogue, and the visual arts in the NBM context, with a focus on creative play and discovery.

Session 8 – One Last Good Look
Final Workshop Session, followed by round-table discussion on creativity and professionalization. Conclusion, review, and discussion of resources and opportunities for further learning.


  • Class Time: 8 sessions – 2.5 hours each
  • Writing Time: 2 shorts assignments; 1 long assignment
  • Mentorship Meeting: 1 hour meeting
  • Participation: Online discussion, peer reviewing, other activities in-between sessions
  • Total: 39 hours