Narrative health: Using story to explore definitions of health and address bias in healthcare

Individual Author(s) / Organizational Author
Pallai, EmmaLee
Tran, Kim
PubMed Central
January 2019
The Permanente Journal
Abstract / Description

When defining health and illness, we often look to governing bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization rather than our communities. With health disparities prominent throughout the US, it is important to look at the structures we have set forth in health care and find new ways to address health as well as new definitions. Storytelling is a valuable tool to help understand how our communities address health and the place of the hospital or clinic in their health. Narrative Health focuses not just on storytelling but also story listening. At the Community-University Health Care Center in Minneapolis, MN, we have implemented narrative health programs with patients and learners from various health professions. Using creative writing pedagogy and techniques to decentralize the practitioner-patient binary of illness, we learn about our patients’ stories of health and experiences with health care. It is important to move past the definitions of health to the complexities of story that allow for the human aspects of illness to be absorbed and understood. (author abstract)


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Reference Type
P4HE Authored