Skip to main content
Browse by:

Effective March 10, 2020, all Duke-sponsored events over 50 people have been cancelled, rescheduled, postponed or virtualized.
Please check with the event contact regarding event status. For more information, please see

Narrative Medicine Mondays: Narratives Patients Tell in the Face of Life-Threatening News

Icon calendar
Monday, October 22, 2018
Icon time
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Icon speaker
John Vaughn, Deborah Jenson

What makes a good physician? Someone who properly diagnoses and cures their patients? What if we told you there's a third vital characteristic - physicians who listen to - and attempt to understand - their patients' stories. Paulo Freire noted in 1963 that: "A careful analysis of the teacher-student relationship[...]reveals its fundamentally narrative character. This relationship involves a narrating Subject (the teacher) and patient, listening objects (the students)[...] Education is suffering from narration sickness." Similar observations have been made about clinical encounters between physicians and patients. "Narrative Medicine"-clinical engagement with patients' stories, and care for equity and responsivity in the clinical narrative-developed as a remedy. In this Duke HHL sponsored lunch group at the Wellness Center, humanities professor Deborah Jenson and Student Health Director John Vaughn welcome students for engagement with health-health as a continuous, developmental life state, inclusive of, yet not defined by, experiences of health problems, treatments, and outcomes. Jenson and Vaughan, along with guest sessions from visitors, will provide literary and media (podcasts, video, song, film) cues for discussion, reflection, and community-building around health: health as wellness, health as illness or disability, health as care and remedy; health as your future, present, and past; and health as narrative. Lunch by Alpaca Peruvian. Future dates: 11/12, 12/3