Baylor Narrative Medicine’s ‘Off Script’ storytelling hour

Within the Center of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine, the Narrative Medicine program has begun taking roots. Founded by Dr. Rita Charon, narrative medicine is an approach to patient care that works to interweave the many aspects of a patient’s case, from their medical history to their test results to how they present in the clinic.

A man sits in front of a computer writing in a notebookThrough constructing and exploring the patient’s story and connecting the many sides of a patient’s case, clinicians get a more holistic understanding of the patient.

In the words of one of the founding members of Baylor’s Narrative Medicine program, Dr. Ricardo Nuila,”Without stories to guide us, patients become problems to solve instead of heroes we help.”

While Baylor’s program is working within the tradition that Charon founded, it generally seeks to incorporate more humanities-oriented experiences within the Texas Medical Center. We are also working to provide opportunities for people to improve their communication skills and increase collaboration between the many TMC institutions through workshops and events. The first of these is “Off Script: Stories from the Heart of Medicine.”

Inspired by the famous storytelling venue, The Moth, organizers from  the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy and UTHealth’s McGovern Center held a ‘call for stories.’ Those selected were invited to workshop the stories alongside members of the Narrative Medicine group.

The storytellers include medical students, fellows, and faculty members.  They will explore tales surrounding the event’s theme, “Histories and Mysteries.”

All are welcome to attend; the event takes place Wednesday, June 29, from 6-7 p.m. on the Baylor College of Medicine Main Campus, room 187A.

Life for those in the Texas Medical Center can be overwhelming and tunnel-vision-inducing as we often focus on the clear cut facts, statistics and textbook guides. It is the group’s hope that through events like “Off Script,” there can be more avenues for reflection and opportunities to synthesize the often chaotic experiences in medicine and research.

-By Erika Versalovic, project coordinator, Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor

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