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Narrative Medicine Workshop: A Call to Ethics


Venue: Columbia University Medical Center, Program in Narrative Medicine

The Program of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University will hold a weekend workshop on Narrative Ethics with plenary lectures by the Core Faculty and two distinguished scholars in the field, Arthur Frank and Alvan Ikoku.

Together, these lectures will articulate the conceptual dimensions of the workshop: That narrative medicine is narrative ethics -- for the movements of attention, representation, and affiliation that are learned allow the clinician or ethicist to enter the narrative world of the patient, to dwell in that world, and to comprehend what is at stake there. Intensive small group work will give participants experience in its methods.

Narrative medicine opens the door to the practice of narrative ethics, the form of ethics grounded in the particularities of the patient’s world and revealed through rigorous narrative work. For those who have taken the Basic Narrative Medicine Workshop, it is a way to enhance their narrative skills with an entirely new set of lectures and group work that is tightly focused on Narrative Ethics. For those coming to the Program for the first time, this workshop will fulfill the requirement needed to take Advanced Workshops in the Program.

Narrative ethics is an everyday practice for those involved in health care, as it is integral to every clinical encounter, every decision, and every therapeutic turn.  We invite nurses, therapists, physicians, dentists, chaplains, and other clinicians to extend their expertise in the longitudinal ethical discernment of practice.

Ethicists will learn how to incorporate narrative methods into their ethical practices, and we invite ethics consultants, IRB members, ethics committee members, and legal/philosophical scholars to join us. Clinical trainees, humanities and ethics graduate students, and narrativists engaged in health care are welcome as well in this ethics-focused version of the Basic Narrative Medicine Workshop.

By combining these groups of participants, we can all learn how to unify what are sometimes divided efforts in patient care, integrating the ethical awareness and sensibility with the clinical recognition that can ensue. 

For more details, please see workshop website.