Karen Gold PhD, MSW, RSW

Curriculum Lead

Karen Gold is a Program Lead and Instructor in the Narrative-Based Medicine Program at Continuing Professional Development in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

Her teaching is informed by 25+ years as a clinical social worker and educator as well as her longstanding experience with arts and narrative in professional practice. Early in her career she was drawn to narrative therapy as a clinical modality and to illness memoirs as a teaching tool.

In 2010, Karen was inspired by the emerging narrative medicine movement to return to school to explore narrative in healthcare. Drawing from the fields of narratology (the study of stories), arts-based inquiry, and auto-ethnography, her dissertation examined writing by practitioners and she graduated summa cum laude with a doctorate from Tilburg University in The Netherlands. While working towards her PhD, Karen did advanced narrative medicine training at Columbia University and certified as a writing workshop leader (Amherst method).

For the last ten years Karen has been leading narrative-based medicine sessions for clinicians, educators, students, and patients. This includes: reader’s theatre on clinical communication, reflective writing for clinicians, therapeutic writing for clients, poetry for therapists, and writing and well-being for artists. She has introduced narrative methods into clinical and classroom settings to promote communication and collaboration and to enhance understanding of the experiences of patients, families and clinicians.

As the Inter-professional Education Lead at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, she developed narrative-based programs to promote collaborative learning and person-centered care. She is a long-time contributor to the Health, Arts, & Humanities Program at the University of Toronto and developed the narrative healthcare unit for their inter-professional student certificate.

She has published and presented on health humanities, narrative pedagogy, life writing, and poetic inquiry. Recent publications include a reflective essay on poet Mary Oliver and a chapter on the relational dimensions of narrative medicine in The Sage Handbook of Social Constructionist Practice.

Karen is a visual artist and registered social worker/psychotherapist in freelance practice. She lives in Toronto with her family and muses on narrative at Art of the Story.