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The Narrative Perspective and Reflective Writing: An Elective in Medical Humanities

Last Updated: March 29, 2020


This elective entitled The Narrative Perspective and Reflective Writing: An Elective in Medical Humanities is a longitudinal elective from July until March usually in the MS4 year but could be in any year of medical school. The purpose of this elective is to develop students’ capacities for continuous reflection and self-assessment through the lens of medical humanities readings, visual arts and reflective writing. Faculty participating are diverse in interest and skills in the Health Humanities and are cultivated through the Health System and School of Medicine and form a community of practice among themselves, based on their common interests and participation in the elective. 

There will be approximately 30 scheduled meeting sessions during this 10-month period in the academic year generally from July through March, with 20 required sessions based on the student's individual schedules. Students connect remotely using ZOOM link for classroom sessions.  Zoom is accessible on the phone as well as a computer or IPAD and use of the camera feature is highly suggested. Audio can be by phone or computer generated. For each meeting session, there will be an assigned reading paired with a writing prompt. Students will be expected to complete assigned reading ahead of time and it will be reviewed in session again as well. Writing for the session can occur before session and then the student brings to class a piece of personal writing/response that draws on their own experiences in the clinical setting. For many sessions, students will prepare their written thoughts in session as indicated on the syllabus. This is a preference of the faculty facilitator leading the session. Students will also be expected to read their writing aloud to peers and respond constructively to the work shared by others. Assigned readings can be paired with complementary or contrasting, music, artwork, videos or plays, to be considered during the classroom sessions as additional prompts for discussion and reflection. Course completion is dependent on required participation in a minimum of 20 sessions, discussion of the readings for the session and preparation of writing narrative for the session and final sharing with peers and faculty in session. Attendance beyond 20 sessions is at the discretion of the student and is encouraged but not required. All attendance issues must be discussed with the Course Director. 


Alice Fornari, EdD, RD, Northwell Health (afornari@northwell.edu)