Journaling and empathy can produce better doctors; Dr. Rita Charon speaks on ‘Narrative Medicine’ on April 13 at Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ The healing process goes better when doctors are
more reflective about their feelings and take the time to better know
their patients, says a speaker coming to Vanderbilt University as part
of a program studying "Medicine, Health and Society."

Dr. Rita Charon, professor of clinical medicine and director of the
program in narrative medicine at the Columbia University College of
Physicians and Surgeons, will speak at noon on Tuesday, April 13, in
Room 208 of Light Hall at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Charon, who has a doctorate in English and comparative literature and a
medical degree, founded Columbia’s narrative medicine program in 1996.
Students studying to be doctors at the university spend an intensive
half-semester in their second year learning about literature and later
are instructed on how to better listen to their patients and understand
body language. During one course, they keep "parallel charts" on their
patientsóone the standard medical history and the other a journal of
their feelings about working with the patient.

The goal is to produce doctors who empathize with their patients and
don’t measure themselves solely on how efficiently they work.

Charon’s lecture is sponsored by The Robert Penn Warren Center for the
Humanities at Vanderbilt. The center promotes interdisciplinary
research and study in the humanities and social sciences, and when
appropriate, the natural sciences.

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS

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