Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative

Signal & Noise: Scribing in the Margins

With support from the Mellon Foundation, Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative (NWNMC) is developing Narrative Scribe Training. Titled Signal & Noise: Scribing in the Margins the curriculum builds on narrative medicine practices of listening and witnessing. 

Narrative Scribe Training registration is open! Save your spot


Narrative Scribe Training will take place in-person in Portland, Oregon. Training kicks off with an evening of live storytelling on Thursday, February 9, 2023. The day-long training will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023. 

Check out the detailed training schedule at the link below and register to participate in Signal & Noise: Scribing in the Margins. 

Training Schedule  Register Here


Lewis & Clark undergraduate students will participate in Narrative Scribe Training alongside community members, medical and other healthcare professional students.

Lewis & Clark students taking Public Health, Narrative Medicine Practicum or PSY 300: Drugs and Behavior are all welcomed to Narrative Scribe Training. Medical scribes from Northwest Acute Care Specialists, OHSU medical and health professions graduate students, and University of Washington undergraduates interested in health are all welcome.

Interested in participating but don’t see yourself in this list? Reach out to Alexis Rehrmann  to ask about availability. 

Narrative Scribe Training Program Objectives 

Equity Framework

NWNMC prioritized the training’s equity framework in Year 2: including BIPOC voices in curriculum planning. The pedagogy for discussing race bias in healthcare centered participants’ choice and positionality in relation to the challenging material at hand.

Interstitium storytellers featured in a hybrid performance over Zoom and in-person on the LC camp... Interstitium storytellers featured in a hybrid performance over Zoom and in-person on the LC campus.

Program Findings: Narrative Scribe Training Year 2

In February 2022, 64 L&C undergraduates and community members attended Narrative Scribe Training. The 23 community participants included Oregon Health and Science University medical students, Northwest Acute Care Specialists medical scribes, and University of Washington undergraduates. The L&C undergraduates came primarily from a Narrative Medicine practicum and a Public Health course.

In a post-training survey completed by 31 of 64 participants, feedback showed that the revised learning objectives were successful, and that Narrative Scribe Training was personally impactful for many.


of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they understand what it means to say that listening is an action rather than a neutral act.

“I was surprised the range of people involved - many outside of healthcare. I also strongly appreciated the diversity of backgrounds represented.”

–Narrative Scribe Training Participant, February 2022

“I will take skills

…that I will be able to integrate into my relationships: skills of deep listening, undivided presence, and clear witnessing of the other.”

–Narrative Scribe Training Participant, February 2022



of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they recognize how the tools of listening and witnessing can help to build a system of trust.

“An incredible experience.”

–Narrative Scribe Training Participant, February 2022

“I felt comfortable

…sharing in my small group, because I felt welcomed.”

–Narrative Scribe Training Participant, February 2022

“The feeling of solidarity

…and community in the (Zoom) room, the reminder that positionally affects every encounter and exchange with another, the knowledge that listening is active, not passive, excitement that narrative medicine is so interdisciplinary, and the feeling of reading someone’s words back to them. There are so many things that I will take from Narrative Scribe Training.”

–Narrative Scribe Training Participant, February 2022


of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed they felt confident to use the tools learned to listen and witness stories more expansively.

“Expanded my outlook

... on the future of health, and for the first time, there is a sense of excitement at the possibilities.”

–Narrative Scribe Training Participant, February 2022

“It inspired me continue with the sciences with more trust that what I learn will actually have application to the things I care about eventually. It gave me hope.”

–Participant, 2021 Narrative Scribe Training

Learning to Listen to Patient’s Stories

Narrative medicine programs teach doctors and other caregivers “sensitive interviewing skills” and the art of “radical listening” to improve patient care. The New York Times reports in this story that narrative medicine is now taught in some form at roughly 80 percent of medical schools in the United States.
   Dr. Pamela Schaff discusses narrative medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine as Chioma Moneme, a student in the class of 2020, look...

How Doctors Use stories to Cope with COVID

Narrative Medicine is a discipline in which doctors and nurses use the principles of literature and art to better understand patients’ stories and incorporate them into their practices, by asking many questions and carefully listening to their patient’s answers. 

In Los Angeles, Narrative Medicine is now being taught at USC Keck School of Medicine and at the new Kaiser Permanente medical school.

Read the LA Times coverage

Bringing Empathy to Health Care Through Narrative Scribe Training

L&C’s Center for Community and Global Health offers Narrative Scribe Training, which emphasizes the importance of listening and storytelling to health care teams.

Narrative Medicine: The Lost Art Of Active Listening

Narrative medicine is the practice of listening, absorbing, metabolizing and being moved to action by stories of wellness and disease. When put into practice, this involves treating a patient as a whole person, rather than just as their illness.

Read the full story by Aidan D’Anna on the LC Pioneer Log.

VIDEO: How the Humanities Can Save Humanity

Panel Discussion Presented by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

In celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month (#NAHM), Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, moderated a wide-ranging discussion with artists Mel Chin and Allison Janae Hamilton and writer-photographer Emily Raboteau about how the humanities are tackling the interconnected challenges of climate change, public health, and racial injustice, among other pressing social justice issues.

The Lewis & Clark College Center for Community and Global Health is supported in part by a Mellon Foundation grant, Healing Social Suffering Through Narrative. 

Connect with the Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative

The Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative welcomes patients, health care professionals, clinicians, caregivers, writers, artists, and scholars in the practice of Narrative Medicine.