Seeking a training session, guest speaker, or just have more questions? Here are the practitioners who can support you in your development of narrative healthcare at your clinic, house of worship, hospital, school, or anywhere stories are told.
Core Communicator & Founder of the Narrative Healthcare Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University: Laura Hope-Gill, MFA
Laura Hope-Gill holds an MFA from Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and directs the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Asheville Graduate Campus. The National Forest Service, partnered with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, installed her as the Poet Laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2009. She received a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in 2010. She has penned The Soul Tree, which received the Okra Award from Southern Independent Booksellers Association, and the Look Up Asheville architectural histories, recognized for excellence by the North Carolina Society of Historians. She is also the founding director of Asheville Wordfest. Hope-Gill comes from long lines of educators and physicians. She is grateful to Dr. Charon for opening a world wherein literature, education, and medicine merge for the welfare of humanity, and appreciates Dr. Charon’s guidance in the development of the Narrative Healthcare Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Hope-Gill grew up in a deeply storied family. Her grandparents were interned in China during World War II, and her grandfather-physician aided internees in the camp. Her father, an endocrinologist, attended to the health of many of the people who portrayed “Munchkins” in The Wizard of Oz, several of whom she came to know nearly as members of the family. Hope-Gill’s mother served as “camp nurse” in the wildernesses of Ontario and Pisgah Forest. When her father told her that to be a doctor one must turn off their emotions, Hope-Gill chose to be a poet. Later, as Hope-Gill’s father was nearing the end of his life, they conversed weekly about Narrative Medicine. Her father often reflected upon the ways his career would have been enriched by such engagement with the Humanities, and how Medicine, as a whole, needed this union all along. Hope-Gill is deeply interested in supporting the current creativity-based transformation occurring in healthcare, a merging of worlds to heal the world.
Carol Scott-Conner, MD | Iowa
Carol Scott-Conner is Professor and Chair Emeritus at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. After a lifetime in academic surgery, she has turned her attention toward creative writing. Her short pieces have been published in literary journals such as North Dakota Quarterly and The Wisconsin Review, as well as in medical humanities journals ranging from The Intima to The Healing Muse. She is the author of a book of short stories, “A Few Small Moments.” At the University of Iowa, she serves on the Medical Humanities Council and is Fiction Editor for The Examined Life Journal. She completed her graduate certificate in Narrative Healthcare at Lenoir-Rhyne in 2020, where she continues her studies toward the MA in Creative Writing. She seeks to help clinicians in their endeavors to use creative writing for self-expression, as well as for healing. She teaches writing workshops for clinicians through The Examined Life Conference and Senior College (both at the University of Iowa). She lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
Alexandra Godfrey, PA | North Carolina
Alexandra received a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Wayne State University. She now works in two community emergency departments in western North Carolina. Prior to becoming a PA, Alexandra worked as a PT in Britain, where she was born and raised. She has been an author and columnist for the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the New England Journal of Medicine. Her writing has appeared in a variety of journals, including Confluence, Intima, The Healing Muse, Pulse, and Blood and Thunder. Alexandra was awarded the American College of Emergency Physicians’ writing award in 2017. She is currently a student in Lenoir Rhyne’s writing program.
Amy Upham, MPH | North Carolina
Amy received her bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and her master’s in Public Health from Lenoir Rhyne University, along with a certification in Narrative Medicine. She has worked for sixteen years in the field of disAbility advocacy, and spent the last few years researching and teaching harm reduction strategies for the underhoused and people who use drugs. She is currently a health educator and program coordinator at the Buncombe County Department of Health. In her spare time, she writes poems and songs, and listens to stories and creeks. She is grateful to have been a part of the first statewide symposium on Narrative Healthcare in 2019. Location: North Carolina
Terri Price, MDiv | South Carolina
Terri is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. She has served a small congregation in Upstate South Carolina since August 2015. Terri’s call to ministry came as she cared for her mother in her final days. The doctor’s prognosis – three months – was uncannily accurate, if cold. Fortunately, the family received life-giving support from an area hospice. That connection led Terri to volunteer for a hospice and ultimately to enroll in seminary. While studying for her divinity degree, she worked as a hospital chaplain, completing five units of Clinical Pastoral Education. In that capacity, she served patients and families in emergency, intensive care, and other settings, spending six months working with the hospital’s palliative care team. All these experiences fostered a deep love for pastoral care and a strong conviction that it is in sharing life stories that we fully connect as human beings. Terri completed her certificate in Narrative Healthcare at Lenoir-Rhyne in 2019. She uses many of the practices learned there in her work with her parishioners and continues to write as a way of processing her own stuff. She holds a BA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and MDiv from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte.
Laurie Kovens, LCSW | North Carolina
Laurie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Durham, North Carolina. She has practiced living with chronic illness for forty years, and practiced writing since she could hold a crayon. Laurie completed her Masters in Social Work at University of Maryland in 1993. She began her professional life working with people with HIV and AIDS, their families, and healthcare providers. She learned the value of bearing witness to the lives of her patients and colleagues, a lesson that informs her life to this day. She has worked in both clinical and organizational settings, and has a deep appreciation for the ways that telling and listening can heal and transform. Laurie holds a Professional Certificate in Narrative Health Care from Lenoir-Rhyne University, and is a candidate for an MA in Writing at the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Laurie presented at the Narrative Health Symposium and at University of Iowa’s Carver School of Medicine “Examined Life” Conference. She has led webinars and workshops on Narrative Health, and her creative nonfiction and poetry have been published in Little Patuxent Review and As It Ought to Be.
Daniel James Waters, DO, MA | Iowa
Daniel is a native of Southern New Jersey. He attended Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, St. Joseph’s College (Philadelphia), and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. In addition to undergraduate and medical degrees, he holds a Graduate Certificate in Narrative Healthcare and a Master of Arts in Writing from the Center for Graduate Studies/ The Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville. He is the author of several nationally published stories and essays, two books of surgical advice, one (rhymed!) poem and two novels. After thirty years, Dr. Waters retired from the practice of cardiac surgery in 2019 but continues to write, teach, and lecture. He is an adjunct Professor of Surgery as well as Course Director for Literature and Narrative Medicine in the Department Of Medical Humanities & Bioethics at Des Moines University in Iowa, as well as a Writing Fellow for Doximity.com. He and his wife, Pamela, have three grown children and live in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Tanya Davis, MA | Illinois
Tanya has a bachelor’s degree in counseling from Depaul University, and a master’s degree in writing, along with a Certificate in Narrative Medicine, from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Nothing brings her more joy than giving to the lives of others. Her family started the William & Mary Davis Foundation, which supports a variety of nonprofit organizations across the world, and Tuskegee Next, which helps at-risk youth with high science and math aptitude receive their pilot’s license. In addition, Tanya started an empowerment retreat for young girls in under-resourced communities. She serves on various boards in the Chicago area. Tanya believes in the power of story to transform lives. By bearing witness with each other, as we share, our stories create a healing wave, moving from one person to another.
Cathy DeMatteo, MSN | Tennessee
Cathy holds a master of science in nursing from King College in Bristol, Tennessee, as well as a bachelor of science in nursing from Carlow College Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned a graduate certificate in Narrative Healthcare from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2016. Cathy is grateful to have the knowledge, training, and ability to be able to offer support to those who suffer. This has included situations in critical care, emergency medicine, home health, long term care, school nursing, employee health, occupational health, and most recently outpatient care. Along the way, she has nurtured and borne witness to patient stories. Currently she is nurse manager for primary care main campus at the VA in Johnson City, Tennessee. Outside of work Cathy appreciates the peaceful beauty of the southern Appalachian Mountains, and enjoys gardening, cooking and baking, travel, and walking her dogs.
Andrew Taylor-Troutman, Mdiv | North Carolina
Andrew Taylor-Troutman is the poet pastor of Chapel in the Pines, a Presbyterian congregation in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is the author of four books, most recently a collection of essays and poems titled Gently Between the Words. He and his wife, also an ordained minister, are rattled and blessed by their three young children.
Valerie Vanderlip, IBLC | North Carolina
Valerie Vanderlip is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant living in Asheville, North Carolina. She is the parent with her husband Jeff of three grown children all of whom were breastfed. Prior to learning about the wonder of our mammal nature and finding a career in allied healthcare, Valerie was an English major at Ashland University. She has a passionate interest in the stories of our lives. As she works with families of little ones, she sees the intensity of their work and the struggle of meeting babies and children’s constant needs. The way that parenting grows us as human beings is painful and leaves us questioning. Have we done enough? Are we enough? Thankfully there are many ways to bring smooth reassurance to our days as parents of small ones. Children don’t need perfect examples. Through mindfulness and reflective listening to the beauty of poetry, prose, music, and other arts that inspire us, such as dance and visual arts, we can find our center. Valerie hopes to help parents find a balance in the busyness of life with small children. Valerie is working on her Narrative Medicine Certificate and MA in Writing at Lenior Rhyne University. Location: North Carolina