The Ecosystem of this Symposium

You are now part of an evolving ecosystem of practitioners who practice humanist care. Six years ago a group of doctors and teachers gathered at Duke University and left with a mission to do a story-related event each month as a way of building the bridge between medicine and story. Throughout this time, I have facilitated monthly sessions in different settings and offered Narrative Healthcare classes at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Every single encounter with students and practitioners has informed this symposium and prepared the ground for the grant-writing process with North Carolina Humanities Council. Systems change is about code-switching and listening and personal growth and change. Working with story builds my ability to see and build connections, working at both macro and micro levels. This skill has been particularly helpful in building a bridge between medicine and literature, since the two have been placed at opposite ends of a line that ought to be a circle, and has been a circle, all along.

Connie Regan-Blake, Storyteller and Mentor

Dr. Rita Charon and the team at Columbia University Program in Narrative Medicine

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Narrative Playbook Project at Business Innovation Factory

Conversations with my own father, an M.D., in the years before he passed

Dr. William Hathaway, CFO of Mission Health

John Evans, Wellness and Writing Connections and Duke Integrative Medicine

Dr. Mary Foskett and Amy Mepham at Wake Forest University Humanities Institute

Dr. Claire Hicks, M.D., of Four Seasons Hospice

Kathy Meacham of Mars Hill University Medical Humanities Program

John Fox of Poetic Medicine Institute

Thor Ringler, creator of My Life, My Story Program at the V.A.

Harlan Gradin of North Carolina Humanities Council for mentorship and insight

Caitlin Patton, Paula Watkins, and the whole team at North Carolina Humanities Council

Dr. Harold S. Kudler M.D. of Duke University, former Acting Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Patient Care Services

Joseph Bathanti, former North Carolina Poet Laureate, Director of Brothers Like These at Charles George V.A.

Dr. Bruce Kelly, M.D., ret. Charles George V.A.

Dr. Kathy Robinson, M.D., Dean of Biomedicine at Daoist Traditions, formerly of Mission Health

Deborah Lowery, Director of Storytelling, Ballad Health

Frank Castelblanco, DNP, Chair of Continuing Professional Education at MAHEC.

Scott Melton, M.Div., Continuing Education Planner at MAHEC

Dr. Jeff Heck, MD, CEO of MAHEC

And the skilled and curious students of the Lenoir-Rhyne University Narrative Healthcare Program who facilitate this weekend’s sessions. Without their challenging questions and courageous inquiry into their own relationship with story, we would not have this event:

  • Tanya Davis, MA
  • Cathy DeMatteo, MSN, RN
  • Laurie R. Kovens, LCSW, MSW
  • Terri Price, MDiv, BA
  • Andrew Taylor-Troutman, MA, M.Div.
  • Amy Upham, MPH, CPWIC
  • Daniel J. Waters, DO, MA
  • Cynthia B. Yancey, MD

And to Dayna Reggero of Climate Listening Project and Polly Schattel of New Southern Films who will be interviewing our speakers and facilitators and also moving into other Narrative Healthcare environments to produce a short film.

Many thanks to everyone who would engage in conversation about this beautiful new story.

Laura Hope-Gill

Coordinator of Narrative Healthcare and M.A. in Writing Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Asheville Center