Allan Peterkin completed a degree in English and French literature before completing medical school at the University of Manitoba.
He went on to complete residencies in psychiatry and family medicine at McGill, all the while working on his own creative writing projects. As a resident, he published “Staying Human During Residency Training-How To Survive and Thrive After Medical School” (now in its 7th North American edition and 1st UK edition). Dr Peterkin is a full Professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Toronto, where he founded the Program in Health, Arts and Humanities. He has served as the inaugural Humanities Faculty Lead for Undergraduate Medical Education, Post Graduate Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development.
He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and Senior Fellow at Massey College. He was the winner of the US-based Health Humanities Consortium Visionary Award in 2023.
Dr Peterkin was a co-founder of Creating Space-Canada’s annual medical humanities meeting, now in its 12th year, and was instrumental in founding the Canadian Association for Health Humanities. He has always been interested in the interface between medicine and storytelling and co-led a therapeutic writing group for men and women living with HIV for 20 years. A collection of these patients’ narratives was published as “Still Here-a Post-Cocktail Aids Anthology” (Life Rattle Press). This work led to further training in narrative-based medicine in the US and UK and he was a pioneer in bringing narrative practice approaches in healthcare to Canada.
Dr Peterkin has written/edited 15 books on subjects as varied as cultural history, human sexuality, physician health and narrative-based medicine.
His health humanities titles include : “Portfolio to Go-1000 Prompts and Provocations for Clinical Learners”, “Health Humanities in Postgraduate Medical Education” with Dr Anna Skorzewska, and “Keeping Reflection Fresh-a Practical Guide for Clinical Educators”, with Pamela Brett-Maclean PHD.
He is also an author of 5 picture books for children. Recent titles include “The Flyaway Blanket” , "National Geographic Kids' Dream Journal" and “Peacock and Sketch”.
Dr Peterkin was a co-founder of the award-winning Canadian literary journal Ars Medica and has been a humanities editorial consultant to CMAJ and Medical Humanities (BMJ).
His poetry, journalistic pieces and creative non-fiction have appeared in journals and magazines in the US, Canada and the UK.
He is delighted to be the founder and current Program Director of the CPD Certificate Program in Narrative-based Medicine, which has trained colleagues from all over the world. This program continues to create new opportunities for finding renewal and community by celebrating the stories and narrative practices shared by students, colleagues, patients and educators from multiple clinical and arts-based disciplines.