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Parsons School of Design MFA Design and Technology program theses2017 ➔ Narratives in Medical Education


Related people/organizations

Chris Romero (thesis advisor)
Anezka Sebek (thesis advisor)
Ethan Silverman (thesis advisor)
Catherine Schmitz (designer)


May 3 2017


Narratives in medical education is a project which explores how narrative strategies can be incorporated into medical education curriculum. Narrative strategies are important for doctors to develop because it helps them with their ability to understand a patient's story and context. If doctors understand a patient’s background more precisely, chances of providing proper treatment should increase.

From my grounded research working with an extensive community of doctors, medical educators, medical students, and administrators in medical schools, I learned that narrative strategies are rarely taught in mainstream medical education due to systemic complexity, bureaucratic structure, and a test driven model. When doctors aren’t being taught narrative strategies, they lack the full toolkit needed to ensure that patients get proper care.

The potential response that I’m exploring through my thesis prototypes is to employ narrative education techniques, which focus less on a list of diagnosable symptoms and more on understanding the context and narrative of a patient. According to Rita Charon, the director of the Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University, if the medical professional knows how to read into contextual clues and understand a patient’s narrative, they’ll be more equipped to diagnose and treat a patient better.



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