Home / Degree Programs / Academic Units / School for the Science of Health Care Delivery / Research / The Necessity of Narrative: Linking Literature and Health Care in Higher Education Curricula

The Necessity of Narrative: Linking Literature and Health Care in Higher Education Curricula

Research Topic: 
Essary, Alison
Lussier M, Essary AC. The necessity of the narrative in medical and health professions education. The Oxford Journal, Forum on Public Policy. September 2014.

As programs in medical humanities continue to emerge in the curricula of institutions of higher education, the most prominent thread connecting medical and humanities disciplines has been “narrative medicine,” which is a prominent presence in numerous previously established programs across the United States, including Columbia, NYU, Oregon State, Baylor and Stanford Universities (to identify some of the most prominent programs in this rapidly expanding field). One consensus view emerges in unambiguous fashion from such a survey of programs and courses: the necessity of narrative to any program or course of study. Our paper will initially trace the rise of narrative as the sought skillset in such collaborative and trans-disciplinary programs, contextualizing our thoughts in innovative activities currently at work within and without the university. The subsequent sections of our paper establish the evolving nature of narrative as the spinal structure for medical humanities programs, identify potential weaknesses in current approaches, and explore a somewhat hidden dimension of narrative research emerging from neurological studies. The paper will close with collaborations and innovations designed to connect both internal programs to external entities, although the largest goal of our presentation is to stimulate response and subsequent discussion. As Arizona State University intensifies its relationship with the Mayo Clinic (Scottsdale), the trans-disciplinary element of narrative in all its dimensions has assumed the preliminary core for this collaboration and the projected collaboration of the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, the College of Health Solutions, and the Department of English.

Read More


< Return to SHCD Research