RIVERSIDE, Calif. Story-telling has long held a place of prominence in American culture, but only recently has come to be viewed as a having a role in the practice of American medicine. "Medical Examinations: Art, Story, Theory" a conference presented April 26-27 by University of California, Riverside anthropologists, artists, writers, psychologists, physicians and historians will explore the role of stories in medicine and healing.
The conference will be held at UCR's Culver Center of the Arts, 3824 Main St. in downtown Riverside, and is free and open to the public. Registration is required, however. Lunch will be provided for participants who register by April 20 at medical.eventarc.com/13669.
Juliet McMullin, associate professor of anthropology and conference co-organizer, said the event will highlight the health-related research undertaken by UCR faculty in such diverse disciplines as anthropology, history, psychology, the arts and medicine. Undergraduate students in cultural anthropology who have collected narratives from cancer patients and worked with artists to illustrate those stories will display their work as well, she said.
"So many of us are working on health issues, and we think narrative is one way we come together to talk about health issues," McMullin explained. "We're hoping to launch more collaboration among our researchers and the community."
Narrative is gaining recognition in medical schools, the cultural anthropologist added, noting the introduction of a medical narratives program at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City to improve the effectiveness of health care.
"Being able to collect better stories from patients helps physicians become better practitioners," McMullin explained. "Stories are how we get to know each other and how we make sense of our world. When patients read stories about others whose experiences are similar to their own, they know they are not alone."
|Contact: Bettye Miller|
University of California - Riverside