Narrative Medicine: A practical approach for clinicians and educators

Lecture by: Elizabeth Lahti, MD

Narrative medicine has been described as medicine practiced with narrative competence: the ability to listen, absorb, and be moved to action by the stories of illness. Dr. Lahti is the Director of Narrative Medicine at the Oregon Health Science University School of Medicine, and has been teaching narrative medicine to interprofessional students and faculty since 2013. In this session, she will provide an overview of narrative medicine, and highlight the evidence that supports developing narrative skills in health care settings. Dr. Lahti will also engage the audience in skill building activities, and provide practical examples of how narrative medicine can be implemented into one’s practice. She will allow time for questions and discussion.

Objectives. By the end of this session audience members will be able to:

  1. Define narrative medicine and narrative competence

  2. Explore one’s own narrative competence

  3. Describe ways to integrate narrative medicine in clinical practice and education

Elizabeth Lahti, MD received her undergraduate degree in English and Spanish literature from Lawrence University, and her medical degree from University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Oregon Health Science University, where she is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine, and the Director of Narrative Medicine in the YourMD curriculum in the OHSU School of Medicine. She teaches narrative medicine and reflective practice to interprofessional students, residents and faculty with a particular interest in identity formation and resilience through story. Dr. Lahti co-founded the Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative which hosts an annual conference and monthly community of practice, where health professionals, patients, caregivers, and artists explore their experience of illness through story, with an eye on improving the healthcare experience for all. Her poetry and short prose has been published in Annals of Internal MedicineJournal of General Internal Medicine, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.