Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D.
Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Dr. Charon graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1978, trained in internal medicine at the Residency Program in Social Medicine at Montefiore Hospital in New York, completed a fellowship in general internal medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1982, and has practiced general internal medicine since 1981 at Columbia. She completed the Ph.D. in English at Columbia University in 1999, having written her dissertation on the use of literary methods in understanding the texts and the work of medicine.
Dr. Charon is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Literature and Medicine. She has written and lectured extensively on literature’s salience to medical practice as well as on the doctor-patient relationship, empathy in medicine, narrative competence, narrative ethics, and the late novels of Henry James. Dr. Charon’s research has focused on communication between doctors and patients, seeking ways to improve the ability of doctors to understand what their patients go through. She inaugurated the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia in 1996 to increase Columbia’s effectiveness in teaching the narrative skills of clinical imagination, empathy, and ethical discernment to health professionals and trainees. She has designed and directed medical education programs at Columbia in medical interviewing and medical humanities and conducts outcomes research to document the effectiveness of training programs in narrative aspects of medicine. Dr. Charon has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residence, and achievement awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American College of Physicians, the Society for Health and Human Values, and the Society of General Internal Medicine. She is co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (Routledge, 2002) and is currently working on a book called Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness to be published by Oxford University Press in March 2006.
Essays in Partial Answers
Narrative Lights on Clinical Acts : What We, Like Maisie, Know
Volume 4, Number 2, June 2006
Narrative as a Way of Thinking