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2021 Class Day Speaker

Rita Charon, MD, PhD
Department Chair, Medical Humanities and Ethics
Executive Director, Division of Narrative Medicine
Professor of Medicine
Columbia University




Rita Charon is a general internist, literary scholar, and the originator of the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. She completed the MD at Harvard in 1978 and the PhD in English at Columbia in 1999, concentrating on the works of Henry James. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice, and health care team effectiveness. She directs the Virginia Apgar Teaching Academy for Medical Educators and Columbia Commons IPE, the health sciences campus interprofessional education and practice program. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Bellagio residency, and recognition from many medical and literary societies. She has served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the US and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice. Her work has been funded by NIH, NEH, and private foundations, and her essays appear in the leading medical and literary journals. Her most recent book, co-authored with seven narrative medicine colleagues, is The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford 2017).