Narratives in Times of Transition
Project Description

The project was a medical student elective called Narratives in Times of Transition, a combination of daily free writing, reading (scholarly articles, poetry, prose), writing assignments, and a group project that involved weaving their individual writing into a collective poem. The elective was an online course via Zoom meetings over a 4 week period, in May 2020, as a response to Covid-19 since the medical school needed distance learning electives that did not involve direct patient care. The class was designed to be a space for students to explore their personal and professional identities in the months leading up to residency applications and interviews. While the content was not specifically Covid related, the discussions and submitted student writing centered on the experience of living/learning during Covid.

Translational Perspective

Students were using a humanities-based curriculum to further develop their professional identities as senior medical students who will be entering the frontline workforce during the global pandemic. The students already are interacting with patients and colleagues on care teams, and within a year they will be practicing physicians who are informed and impacted by their humanities experiences.

Additional Projects

Another project was a 2-week elective offered by OHSU for medical students. As part of the elective, students read several poems and prose excerpts either directly related to Covid-19 (new publications) or about other infectious diseases (like HIV/AIDS, 1918 flu epidemic) and had creative writing assignments. Students met in virtual small groups to discuss the readings, share their own writing, and do additional creative writing prompts.

Contact Infomation: First name
Contact Information: Last name
Contact Information: Position title
Director of Narrative Medicine
Contact Information: Institutional affiliation
Oregon Health Science University
Contact Information: Email address
lahtie [at]

Portland, Oregon, USA