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.

NBM Principles and Practices

Introduction to Principles and Concepts
Definitions; introduction to key principles and concepts in the field; key theorists; reading and writing activities

Illness and Disability Narratives
Exploring the genre of illness and disability narratives through discussion of key concepts, close reading activities and reflective writing

Narrative Healthcare Strategies
A discussion of narrative interventions in healthcare contexts; practical strategies for NBM in practice and clinical communication

Narrative for Self-Care and Resilience
Writing for well-being; narrative approaches to professional loss and burnout; sharing assignments; resources for further learning; wrap up

Writing and Narrative Craft

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.

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.

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.

One Last Good Look
Final session of section, followed by round-table discussion on creativity and professionalization. Writers circle – sharing assignments.


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