Scholarly Concentration In Narrative Medicine

Office of Medical Education

Coordinator: Susan Palwick, Ph.D.

School of Medicine Student Obligations

  1. During the summer after first year, you will read and respond to at least six texts.
    1. The reading list, drawn up in consultation with Dr. Palwick, will include Rita Charon’s NARRATIVE MEDICINE and Danielle Ofri’s THE BEST OF THE BELLEVUE REVIEW, and from there will delve into your areas of particular interest (for instance: psychiatry, pediatrics, cultural issues in medicine, trauma narrative, medicine and social justice, medicine in literature).
    2. Annotations of each text will be at least 1,000 word.
    3. Annotations will be submitted to Dr. Palwick according to a prearranged schedule; if for any reason you cannot meet a deadline, you are expected to notify Dr. Palwick to arrange a new one, no later than three days after the first.
  2. During the third and fourth years, using Charon’s concept of the “parallel chart,” you will produce at least 10,000 words of reflection on your clinical encounters with patients and other medical providers. Note: Be sure to de-identify patients to meet HIPAA requirements!
    1. Depending on your schedule, you may either write your clinical reflections in one four-week block or over a more extended period; you and Dr. Palwick will agree on this structure beforehand.
    2. Written reflections will be submitted on a regular and ongoing schedule; in other words, you may not submit all 10,000 words at once.
    3. Your reflective writing may take the form of a journal, but you may also experiment with literary forms: the essay, short fiction, poetry, drama.
  3. While much of your reflective writing may be informal in nature, you are required to do one of the following:
    1. Polish and submit a manuscript to one of the many publications that showcase medical humanities (such as Pulse, the Bellevue Review, or the “Ad Libitum” section of Annals of Internal Medicine). You will choose the market to which you submit in consultation with Dr. Palwick; student magazines do not count.
    2. Give a public reading or presentation of your work; it will be your responsibility to secure a venue and to publicize the event.
  4. Throughout this Scholarly Concentration, you will be courteous and professional, demonstrate appropriate discretion in protecting patient privacy as per HIPAA, and uphold University standards of intellectual integrity. Plagiarism is grounds for automatic failure in this scholarly concentration, and may incur more serious penalties from the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

Mentor Obligations

Dr. Palwick will:

  1. Respond to all written work (annotations and reflections) with written feedback within one week; feedback will include specific suggestions, both stylistic and substantive, for improving future pieces.
  2. Meet with you in person as often as once every two weeks, should you desire this (as long as it is geographically feasible).
  3. Alert you as soon as possible to any problems with your work.