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Why Doctors Write: Finding Humanity in Medicine is a documentary film about the intersection of medicine and literature, where creative writing and reflective reading are now vital tools used to support doctors, train medical students, and foster teamwork in hospital settings. This renewed presence of writing, and the humanities in healthcare comes at a time when technology, managed care, and other constraints minimize the time doctors and patients spend together. The film will draw on storylines in three areas:
1 – Doctors as Writers: The film will focus on selected writer-MDs, and what motivates them to write about clinical work in published pieces, such as Medicine in Translation: Journeys with My Patients, in which Dr. Danielle Ofri writes about Juan, her patient in the NYC Bellevue Hospital Clinic.
2 – Medical Education – Where Art and Science Meet: The film will look at how medical schools around the US, have developed medical humanities, and narrative medicine curricula to nurture clinical skills, such as empathy, observation and communication. Programs featured include Narrative Medicine at Columbia, Medicine and the Muse at Stanford.
3 – Literature and Medicine Groups at VA Hospitals: The Literature and Medicine program, developed by the Maine Council on the Humanities, and currently used in 27 states, supports hospital staff members in strengthening community and improving patient outcomes, through facilitated reading groups. The film will travel to sites in New Jersey, California, and North Carolina, to look at how literature creates a magical environment for physicians, and patients, to talk about their experience – allowing them to talk about what normally is not talked about.
Ken Browne is an Emmy award-winning producer/director whose documentaries explore personal transformation through the arts, healthcare, and education.