The film is supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation
Produced in association with the non-profit Center for Independent Documentary
Why Doctors Write: Finding Humanity in Medicine is a documentary feature film about the intersection of medicine and literature. It will guide viewers into areas of the medical world where creative writing and reflective reading are transforming doctors, medical students, and other healthcare workers. The film will make a case that this growing movement of writing by doctors, and use of literature in hospitals and medical schools, is renewing humanism in medicine – at a time when technology, managed care, and other constraints encroach upon the doctor-patient connection.
Story lines in the film will focus on three areas of content:
1 – Doctors as Writers
The traditional image of a doctor in the act of writing conjures a prescription pad, a patient history, or a medical textbook. Doctors have been writing since Hippocrates, but the last few decades have witnessed a number of books and publications that signal the presence of a vibrant world of doctors who are writing, and illuminating the field of medicine in ways not previously considered. The film will focus on selected authors and writings, such as Medicine in Translation, in which Dr. Danielle Ofri writes about Juan, her patient in the NYC Bellevue Hospital Clinic. See trailer above.
2 – Medical Education – Where Art and Science Meet
The film will look at how medical schools around the US, have developed medical humanities, and curricula in writing, to foster in students vital clinical skills – 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, is currently used in 25 states, and supports VA hospital staff members in building 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 to talk about their experience – allowing them to talk about what normally is not talked about.”