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Documenting Medicine

In 2010, Pediatrician and Photographer John Moses and I launched a documentary mentorship for Duke physician residents nearing the end of their training. Residents are given the skills, equipment, mentoring and time to explore a medical issue, question or story using documentary methods. We offer mentoring in audio, photography, web and writing. At the conclusion of the mentorship, residents share their work with colleagues and medical students.

We’ve now worked with over thirty residents and fellows. The work has been featured in exhibits, local and national conferences, press and at events, and will be shared in several academic articles in the coming year.

  • "It’s not about statistics. It’s about using individual stories to create that connection, that empathy. Then, rational arguments, like numbers, can play a supporting role."
    - Nicholas Kristof

    "When you’re lost in a good story, it’s not arbitrary, it’s not pleasure for pleasure’s sake. It’s biological, it’s chemical, it’s a survival mechanism."
    - Author Lisa Chron

    "Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds but, in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry — and that’s what it means to be a social creature."
    - Neuroscientist Paul Zak

    "Listening is an act of love."
    - David Isay, StoryCorps