Reminder: Finding Wholeness as Scholars, Teachers, and Healers through Narrative Medicine and the Medical Humanities

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Survive and Thrive, A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine
contact email: 

Project co-edited by David Beard,, Julia Brown,, and Molly Wright,


In this special issue of Survive and Thrive, we ask practitioners of medical humanities and narrative medicine to reflect on the impact of this work on their personal and professional lives.  We seek articles, creative works, reflective texts, and more, that demonstrate, illuminate, or enact the powerful integrative work of medical humanities and narrative medicine.  We take inspiration from the founder of the Survive and Thrive conference, Rex Veeder. In moving into the medical humanities, Veeder transformed his teaching and his scholarly work as well as his communities.  For example, in his teaching at St.. Cloud State University and in leading poetry workshops online, open to the whole community, Rex encouraged student-writers to bring their whole experience into language. In writing and staging his own musical in St. Cloud, Minnesota, he brings a community together, encouraging his audience, cast and crew to find ways to heal.  In planning the annual Survive and Thrive conference, he brings medical professionals, academics, survivors and the broader community together in dialogue about stories of illness, being human, and healing. Medical humanities and narrative medicine have been the tools by which Rex has constructed a wholeness of his experience as a survivor of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and by which Rex has invited others to experience that wholeness together.

Send us your work illustrating the integrative and transformative power of medical humanities -- the way it has brought your community or your professional life into greater wholeness.  Speak to us about the ways that narrative medicine has had transformative effects on yourself, your work, your community.


Scope of the Special Section of Survive and Thrive

Survive and Thrive works within the allied traditions of Medical Humanities and of Narrative Medicine, emphasizing "medicine practiced with these skills of recognizing, absorbing, interpreting, and being moved by the stories of illness” [Rita Charon], and acknowledging the medical realities of the human condition and the humanities’ role in healing.  This special issue of Survive and Thrive brings together an authentic, empathic, and whole perspective in the work of teaching and learning, inspiring a fusion of care and critical thinking.

Possible submissions may be accounts of projects and activities like:  becoming informed members of their community by becoming certified in CPR, learning how to operate an AED, advocating for students and colleagues with disabilities/special needs, and recognizing common challenges to students’ and colleagues’ mental health, carrying narrative and medical humanities into course, design, researching and presenting on a public health crisis in the community, or creating a work of art or literature that expresses a theme central to Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine.


Suggested Bibliography:

  • Charon, R. [TEDx Talks]. (2011, Nov. 4). Honoring the stories of illness [Video file]. Retrieved from

  • Rita Charon, Sayantani DasGupta, Nellie Hermann, Craig Irvine, Eric Marcus, Edgar Rivera-Colon, Danielle Spencer, and Maura Spiegel. The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

  • Charon R and Das Gupta S, eds. Introduction to Special Issue on Narrative Medicine. Literature and Medicine 2011;29.2.

  • Charon R. Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

  • DasGupta, S. [TEDx Talks]. (2013, Jul. 10).  Narrative humility: Sayatani DasGupta at TEDxSLC [Video file]. Retrieved from

  • Frank, Arthur W. At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness. Boston: Mariner Books, 2001.

  • Frank, Arthur W. The Wounded Storyteller. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

  • Ikoku, A. [Stanford]. (2016, May 17). Defining the Humanities: Medical Humanities [Video file]. Retrieved from

  • Mattingly, Cheryl. “The Concept of Therapeutic Emplotment.” Social Science and Medicine 38.6 (1994): 811-822. Elesvier Science. Web.

  • Mattingly, Cheryl. Healing Dramas and Clinical Jobs: The Narrative Structure of Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

  • Ohio Northern University [Ohio Northern University]. (2016, Mar. 8). Medical Humanities [Video file]. Retrieved from

  • Schillace, B. [BMJ Company]. (2018, Jan. 9). Medical Humanities in Conversation [Video file]. Retrieved from

  • Spector, S. [Drexel Medicine]. (2013, Jun. 3). Medical Humanities at Drexel University College of Medicine [Video file]. Retrieved from

  • Spencer, D. “Narrative Medicine.” Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine. Eds. Miriam Solomon, Jeremy R. Simon, and Harold Kincaid. New York and London: Routledge, 2017. 372-82.

  • Veeder, R. (2015, Apr. 1). Writing and Medical Humanities [Video file]. Retrieved from


Submission Timeline

June 1, 2018:  Deadline for abstracts to

September 1, 2018:  Deadline for essays

Spring 2019:  Publication


Submission Requirements

"Submissions" may include text, video, audio, or image files that express the aims and scope of the Journal. Submissions cannot have been previously published, nor be forthcoming in an archival journal or book (print or electronic). Please note: "publication" in a working-paper series does not constitute prior publication. In addition, by making a Submission to Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine, the creator is stipulating that the material is not currently under review at another journal (electronic or print) and that he or she will not submit the material to another journal (electronic or print) until the completion of the editorial decision process at Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine. If you have concerns about the submission terms for Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine, please contact the editors.


About Survive and Thrive, A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine  


Survive Thrive: Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine aims to provide opportunities for sharing research, artistic work, pedagogical dialogue, and the practice of Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine. Although it is linked to the Survive and Thrive Conference and Arts Festival, the Journal serves its own mission in education and the practice of Humanities as they relate to illness, injury, and trauma. One of the primary aims of the journal is to bring Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine to patients, survivors, and caregivers. Its emphasis, therefore, is on patients and survivors and their needs, and while aware and supporting profession medical education, the journal is most concerned with an audience broader than an academic audience. We encourage physicians and others in the Medical Profession to practice Narrative as Medicine by submitting their work, especially when it encourages them to be artists – visual, performance, and literary. The scope of the journal is eclectic in that it considers all the disciplines of Medicine and the Humanities while focusing on their relationship and the needs of survivors and patients.