Narrative Medicine connects health care providers, scholars and artists in Paris

January 29, 2024

Narrative Medicine is a movement at the crossroads of humanities and the fight for equal access to healthcare. It mobilizes the power of stories to connect medicine, art, and social justice. What can this discipline accomplish when it is played out on the global stage?

The Paris Center will function as an international hub for future collaborative projects under the scholarly and creative direction of Columbia faculty Rita Charon (GenMed, SPS), Delphine Taylor (VP&S), and Nellie Hermann (VP&S, SPS).

In January, Taylor and Hermann held a series of roundtable discussions on Narrative Medicine with French health care providers, writers, philosophers, literary scholars, and researchers. This followed a first meeting in the summer of 2023, in conjunction with narrative scholar Christian Delorenzo of the Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Créteil (CHIC), which established a France-based interdisciplinary group that will pursue social justice through collaborative patient- and community-centered projects. 

What if the future of healthcare isn't just in clinics, but in collaborative storytelling?

In May 2024, the group will reconvene for a conference investigating these questions. The Paris Center will host the inaugural “Rendez-vous International de la Médecine Narrative,” gathering health care providers, social scientists, and artists from around Europe. The conference will also include workshops demonstrating teaching and research methods, and a public event will follow in the evening.

Nellie Hermann, creative director of Columbia University Medical Center’s Narrative Medicine, was a fellow in the Institute of Ideas and Imagination in 2018. Delphine Taylor, who has integrated Narrative Medicine methods into the medical school curriculum, completed a faculty visitorship last June and July at CGC | Paris. 

Narrative Medicine first arose at Columbia University in 2001 with Rita Charon, Professor of Medicine and founder and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine. Over two decades, the program has developed principles and practices that equip clinicians to better comprehend their patients’ experiences and perspectives. There is a dedicated research division in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics, which grants degrees and supports research projects. Read more about Narrative Medicine from Rita Charon in Le Monde:

Rita Charon : « La médecine narrative permet de “lire dans son patient” »

La médecine narrative, l’art d’écouter son patient pour mieux le soigner