EVMS, William & Mary partner on narrative medicine program

Every patient has a story. Narrative medicine offers a way for caregivers to uncover those stories and determine what role they play in each patient’s illness and healing. To that end, EVMS and William & Mary have teamed up to teach narrative medicine to W&M undergraduates and EVMS’ students, residents and faculty.

“It has become increasingly evident that understanding the patient’s experience is an essential part of providing effective care,” says Mekbib Gemeda, EVMS Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. Narrative medicine trains caregivers to consider patients’ stories, as well as their symptoms. It encourages them to validate a patient’s experience and to be creative and self-reflective in their approach to treatment.

Three EVMS departments — Diversity and Inclusion, Family and Community Medicine, and Pediatrics — have formed a unique partnership with certain W&M faculty. Not only is narrative medicine being offered to specific EVMS students, residents and faculty, it is also being introduced to W&M students pursuing majors in Pre-Med; Theatre, Speech & Dance; English; Africana Studies; and other departments.

Along with Mr. Gemeda, Teresa Babineau, MD (MD '90, Family and Community Medicine Residency '93), Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, and Natasha Sriraman, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, represent EVMS in this effort.

“The William & Mary-EVMS pilot has exciting possibilities for the training and practice of health-care providers,” W&M Provost Michael R. Halleran says, “and it demonstrates the value of the partnership between our two institutions.”