WVU School of Medicine to expand narrative medicine curriculum in Fall ‘24

WVU School of Medicine to expand narrative medicine curriculum in Fall ‘24

The West Virginia University School of Medicine plans to expand its narrative medicine curriculum with a new elective course for medical students in the fall of 2024. The curriculum ties closely to the recent success of the Healthcare is Human project.

Healthcare is Human is a humanities project led by WVU School of Medicine Eastern Campus associate professor Ryan McCarthy, M.D., that explores narrative medicine, a discipline of medicine focused on understanding the well-being of both the patient and the caregiver.

Dr. McCarthy, along with assistant professor Andrea Labus. M.D., hosted a workshop, titled “Healthcare is Human, Narrative Medicine Rooted in Appalachian Values” at the 2024 Gold Humanism Summit, held in Atlanta, Georgia from Feb. 29 – March 2.

During the workshop, Drs. McCarthy and Labus provided updates on a new first-of-its-kind Healthcare is Human course at the WVU School of Medicine, which will enroll students beginning in the Fall 2024 semester.

Led by Labus, the online elective course will be open to fourth-year medical students and will focus on teaching the fundamental skills of narrative medicine through a unique educational model rooted in Appalachian art, culture and values. Labus said she is looking forward to exploring the concept of narrative medicine with students through this course.

“I have a strong passion for teaching humanities and narrative medicine skills, so I am very excited to be able to do just that when we launch the course this fall,” Labus said. “Healthcare is Human allows us to approach medical education and patient care in a personalized way, giving the School of Medicine a unique approach to teaching narrative medicine. I feel honored to be a part of this initiative.”

In addition to the unveiling of this new course, McCarthy and Labus also hosted a screening of a recent film on the Healthcare is Human project and distributed a workbook to participants designed to guide them on developing similar narrative medicine projects at their home institutions. McCarthy said he was excited to share this workbook with fellow healthcare workers and educators.

“When I launched this project in 2020, it was very much with the scope of serving West Virginia and the surrounding Appalachian region,” McCarthy explained. “Now as the project continues to expand, I look forward to seeing how my colleagues can adapt these ideas to serve different populations in different regions across the country.”

Healthcare is Human incorporates the artistry of several individuals including Molly Humphreys (photography); Kym Mattioli (audio production); and Renee Nicholson (writing & poetry). To learn more about the project, visit the official webpage on the WVU Humanities Center website.

To learn more about the medical school at WVU, visit medicine.wvu.edu/students.