Mission Statement

The Yale Program for Humanities in Medicine at Yale sponsors this electronic journal in the hope to encourage dialogue among physicians, nurses, nurse-practitioners and physician-assistants, students, and all other health-care workers. We are eager for stories -- narratives they now are called -- from the patients we all become. In short, we foster humanism in medicine, however defined.

The emotions of doctor and patient may be getting lost in all the medical technology. Our newer instruments have vastly improved the care doctors give their patients, electronic medical records certainly improve the flow of information from one office to another, but this focus on the record and the devices of medical diagnosis, and on the details of the body and brain, runs the risk of losing the patients in their illnesses, their spirit and minds in the scans of their brains. We focus on the experience of illness and not on the disease itself.

We welcome contributions in poetry or prose, literature and other art reviews or opinion pieces, from anyone with something to say about medicine or medical care in a pleasant and literate fashion. We are eager for contributions from the medical and nursing students who will be the medical care workers of the future, as well as from anyone who has been through the health-care system . Practicing physicians retired health-care workers, all are welcome to share their wisdom with us.

Articles that are be relatively short, 2500 words or less, are more likely to be read, but as our record will show, we publish many longer pieces and will do so again if they're good enough! In this second decade we hope to amplify the published word by more in the way of photography and art, along with the far wider vistas at the electronic media make possible.

Revised: 11/3/2010

Founding Editor


Advisory Board

  • Photo of Asghar RastegarAsghar Rastegar , M.D.
  • Dr. Rastegar is Professor of Medicine and Director of Office of Global Health in the Department of Medicine. A nephrologist, he is well nationally and internationally as an educator. As Associate Chair for Academic Affairs for 15 years, he founded the Annual Writer’s Workshop for residents as well as the biannual Professionalism Workshop for the interns. He also worked closely with well –known actor Anna Deavere Smith in a presentation focusing on patients’ narrative. This became the basis for her play “Let me down easy” now in production nationally. As Director of Office of Global Health he now focuses on capacity building in resource poor regions of the world.

  • Photo of Lisa SandersLisa Sanders, M.D.
  • Lisa Sanders MD is the author of the New York Times Magazine “Diagnosis” column, and the inspiration for the TV series, “House M.D.” Her best-selling book, Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis, has now come out in paperback. An Emmy award-winning producer at CBS News, and now a board-certified internist, Dr. Sanders trained at Yale School of Medicine,where she remains on the teaching faculty. She lives in New Haven with her husband and two daughters.

  • Photo of George TroneGeorge A. Trone, Ph.D.
  • George Trone received a bachelor's degree in Italian studies (Phi Beta Kappa) from Stanford University in 1992 and a doctorate in Italian language and literature from Yale University in 1998. He has taught language and literature at Yale, Connecticut College, and Kettering University, and has published scholarly articles, reviews, and translations in The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Dante Studies, Forum Italicum, Envoi, and New Vico Studies. Together with Howard Spiro, he established The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine (http://yjhm.yale.edu) in 1999.

  • Photo of Pauline ChenPauline Chen, M.D.
  • Pauline W. Chen is a surgeon and writer. Her work, which has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, Prevention and Self. Her first book, Final Exam, was a New York Times bestseller and was named by New York Times book critic William Grimes as one of his ten favorite books of 2007. Since 2008, Dr. Chen has been a weekly online columnist for The New York Times (“Doctor and Patient”), writing about issues affecting the patient-doctor relationship. She currently sees patients in the VA Boston Healthcare System.

  • Photo of Julie RosenbaumBrian Maurer
  • Brian T. Maurer has practiced pediatric medicine as a Physician Assistant for the past three decades.  As a clinician, he has always gravitated toward the humane aspect in patient care—what he calls the soul of medicine.  Over the past decade, Mr. Maurer has explored the illness narrative as a tool to enhance the education of medical students and cultivate an appreciation for the delivery of humane medical care.  His first book, Patients Are a Virtue, recently reviewed in The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, is a collection of patient vignettes illustrating what Sir William Osler called “the poetry of the commonplace” in clinical medical practice. Interested readers can read more of the author's writings at his website and blog and in his YJHM Notes from a Healer column.
  • Photo of George TroneFred Platt, M.D.
    Fred Platt practiced primary care internal medicine in Denver for 40 years and has recently semi-retired. Both his writing and teaching focus on the clinician-patient communication; his most recent book being The Field Guide to the Difficult Patient-Interview, 2nd edition. (2004) Previously he published three editions of Case Studies in Emergency Medicine, two collections of case studies of clinician mal-communication (Conversation Failure and Conversation Repair) and co-wrote The Art of Playing the Piano with California pianist, Mortimer Markoff.  He is the book review editor for The Medical  Encounter, the quarterly journal of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare.  

  • Gretchen Berland, M.D., Yale School of Medicine
  • Thomas Duffy, M.D., Director, Program for the Humanities in Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
  • Linda Pellico, PhD, APRN, Yale University School of Nursing
  • Ed Volpinesta (evolpintesta@snet.net)