“Rate your pain from 1 to 10.”

Most people who have been to the doctor have probably been asked to answer this question. A new field known as narrative medicine argues that this momentary question misses the point if it doesn’t include a background story. By focusing on patient’s stories, medical professionals can bear witness, absorb, make sense of and act upon the stories and traumas of others to enhance healing.

The narrative medicine program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC welcomed its first 6 students in the fall of 2020. Students take classes in literary studies, creative writing, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and qualitative research through a medical lens. The program is the second in the country, in addition to Columbia University’s narrative medicine program.

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