Narrative Medicine Covid-19 Kit
Project Description

The particularly trying circumstances that we have been living around the world mean that we all, but especially those working in healthcare, have been facing unprecedented challenges. For that reason, Joana Monteiro and a team dedicated to Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine (NM) decided to make humanistic tools available to anyone who would find them useful. The research team developed the Narrative Medicine Covid-19 Kit, which was available in English and Portuguese with daily updates between April 7th and July 5th 2020. While it was designed with health professionals in mind, it could also be used by anyone who wished to engage with it.

The project offered three NM tools:

  1. Flash Journal: Designed to be used individually but also shareable among co-workers, friends, family. The flash journal was a simple device for daily use, an invitation to engage visually and verbally with every day of the week, using very few words and taking just a couple of minutes.
  2. Text and Image of the Day (in Portuguese and English): Each day the team offered a short text and a suggestive image, as well as some support materials to invite a moment of contemplation enjoying them or even have a group dialogue about them.
  3. My Snapshot of the Day: A participatory gallery publishing photos that illustrated the pandemic days as people lived them. To people at home, the invitation to share what they saw from their windows, balconies or gardens; and to those at work, to send an image of their day.

The project was coordinated by Maria de Jesus Cabral (project SHARE–Saúde e Humanidades Atuando em RedeCo-PI) and Isabel Fernandes (project SHARE’s PI). Monteiro was joined in the executive committee by Filipe Mesquita (project SHARE’s grantee) and Inês Almeida (CEAUL researcher–Centre of Statistics and its Applications–and a member of the Project in Medical Humanities). The team had contributions from several members of the Project in Medical Humanities and other researchers from different fields of study: American Studies, Art History, Bioethics, Creative Writing, Education, Film and Media Studies, Ethics, Languages, Literature, Medical and Health Humanities, Visual and Dramatic Arts, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology.

Translational Perspective

As a team dedicated to Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine, and aware of the effects the sanitary crisis was having around the world, especially for health professionals, we developed an original tool meant to help them deal with the wariness brought about by these trying circumstances. We relied on Narrative Medicine tools, such as close reading, and our hope was that the materials we developed and shared would promote a moment of contemplation, reflection, and even dialogue, which in turn could contribute to an alleviation of stress and help develop more humane relations and environments.

Humanidades Medicas
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Research Associate
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School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon (Portugal)
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medhum at

Lisbon, Portugal