Fostering Narrative Competence will focus on developing the skills of close reading and reflective and creative writing through discussion of published work, sharing student writing in a guided, workshop setting, and a selection of writing and creativity exercises. The course is open to writers at all levels interested in working in a variety of genres (fiction, memoir, poetry , drama, non-fiction, etc.).

October 2018
Introducing Narrative-Based Medicine – Part One
  • Wed, Oct 3 to
    Wed, Dec 12
Introducing Narrative-Based Medicine – Part One

The art of telling - and listening to - stories is fundamental to what it means to be human. Storytelling is a craft that can be developed with practice.

Narrative medicine, both in medical practice and education, is practiced with a focus on the skills of communication and collaboration which are essential to positive health outcomes. Learning how to write and reflect on narratives will give you a powerful ability to build therapeutic and collegial relationships, improve patient outcomes, and live and work in a more reflective and engaged way.

This program will introduce the theory and practice of Narrative-Based Medicine through a variety of practical activities and discussion. Participants will be guided through in-class exercises in close reading, close listening, and creative and reflective writing. We will also create and share written work to enhance participants’ comfort with expression, communication, and feedback. As well as discussing the goals and benefits of narrative medicine, class discussion will return to the questions raised by the participants’ clinical and educational practice with the aim of enhancing narrative competence in working life.

Please note that program is not purely a writing course. Its curriculum is designed with a focus on health humanities and narrative medicine, and includes reflection and communication using close reading and writing.

This new program, consisting of six, two hour sessions, will meet the needs of healthcare clinicians and educators coming to narrative medicine for the first time. There will be little or no homework/readings for this program.

Full Details
January 2019
Deepening Narrative Competence – Part Two
  • Wed, Jan 16 to
    Wed, May 1
Deepening Narrative Competence – Part Two

This program aims to meet the needs of healthcare practitioners already working with narrative medicine approaches in their clinical or pedagogic practice, and/or writing for themselves and looking for further mentorship and support.

“Deepening Narrative Competence – part two” seeks to enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of and practical engagement with the tools of narrative medicine. The course will begin by introducing the basic elements of literary and reflective practice and the essentials of close reading. These will be applied with greater depth as the workshop goes on, introducing more specialized writing and reading techniques, as well as editing, rewriting, and modes of publication.

We will read a selection of published works relating to health and the body, and share work written by participants in-between classes, all with the aim of honing and focusing our skills of observation, creation, and reception. Throughout, participants will be guided in discussion on the aims and practice of narrative medicine, and encouraged to find ways to apply its lessons in their own daily work, while understanding and respecting the ethical questions the work raises.

Guest speakers will visit the workshop to offer theoretical/practical/creative perspectives. This program will require in-between-session homework/readings.

Registration is now open until December 14, 2018There is an associated registration fee of $700. A maximum of 15 participants will be accepted into the program on a first come, first served basis.

Learning Goals

The goals of this program are:
  • to advance the skills of close reading and reflective and creative writing, deep reflection and listening
  • to provide participants with regular reading and writing support, discussion, and mentoring
  • to practice and discuss narrative medicine approaches, enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of and practical engagement with narrative medicine tools
  • to enhance written communication through reviewing and discussing published work and practical exercises in storytelling and reflective writing;
  • to define reflective capacity and specifying ways of assessing it in written pieces
  • to deepen comfort with creativity and expression, while respecting ethical boundaries
  • to offer mentorship, support and discussion of narrative medicine projects

Target audience

Healthcare practitioners who have experience with narrative medicine and writing.



Completion of Introducing Narrative-Based Medicine (part 1), Fostering Narrative Competence,* or by application.

*For those who completed Fostering Narrative Competence, please note: some of the material in this Part 2 program would be similar to what was covered in Fostering. However, each group of students is different and with this work, there is a benefit to repeating some things, but there will be some overlap of content and readings.


Application Information

You can use this application process if you have not completed one of the pre-requisite programs.

The pre-requisites for the Deepening program are either Introducing Narrative-Based Medicine – Part One or Fostering Narrative Competence.

If you have not completed either of the above programs, but have experience in writing and health humanities, we welcome your application.

How to apply

Please provide us with a statement of interest including the following information, minimum of 350 words.

Email your application with your Full Name and Statement of Interest to

The application will be passed on to Damian Tarnopolsky (program leader) for review.

 Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first served basis. The deadline to apply is December 14, 2018.

  1. What is the nature of your interest in the medical humanities/health humanities?
  2. What experience do you have in the medical humanities and/or narrative medicine (workshops attended, classes taken, etc or initiatives undertaken professionally etc.)?
  3. What professional goals do you have for being part of the Deepening Narrative Competence – Part Two program? (e.g. new writing projects/curricular design)
  4. Could you please provide examples of specific writing experience or creative publications?

Full Details