Rita Charon is professor of clinical medicine and director of the program in narrative medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. A general internist with a primary care practice at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Charon took a Ph.D. in English when she realized how important telling and listening to stories is to the work of doctors.
She directs the Narrative Medicine curriculum for Columbia’s medical school and teaches literature, narrative ethics and life-telling, both in the medical center and Columbia’s Department of English. Her research projects focus on the outcomes of training health care professionals in narrative competence and the development of narrative clinical routines to increase the capacity for clinical recognition in medical practice. She is currently principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health project to enhance the teaching of social science and behavioral science in medical schools.