Background/field: Creative writing, public health, and community activism.
Current research: What is the role of narrative in public health? Including:
- What aspects of narrative matter in public health?
- What makes a public health story true and how can you tell?
- How do we fight cliché?
- What’s the practical process of creating a public health narrative like?
- What are the dangers along the way?
Definitions: Narrative is about connecting elements in a way that yields a meaning beyond the individual elements.
Hypotheses: Bad narratives rely too heavily on identification with obvious traits, and fail because they don’t transport. That is, identification depends on transportation, not the other way round.
Making the case: The case for narrative in medicine is perhaps even more easily made (everyone gets it when you mention doctors lacking empathy), but it’s easy for public health too: after all, describing other people’s unique lives in detail is what’s needed to put individual experiences into their wider public-health context, and it’s precisely what writers do. The case just needs to be made more often.
Wider relevance: This narrative approach changes not just how we create public-health interventions, but also how we teach public health and how we write academic papers.
Where next: ‘Perceived authenticity’ combines compelling with believable. What are its textual components?
Find out more:
- Lise’s personal site is http://lisesaffran.com
- Examples of her students’ public health narratives are at https://mupublichealth.atavist.com
- Lise’s 2014 Medical Humanities article ‘“Only connect”: The case for public health humanities’ is here
- And her 2017 blog post for Scientific American on storytelling and the search for truth, here
And thanks to Aussens@iter for the intro/outro music:
Between Worlds (Instrumental) by Aussens@iter (c) copyright 2017.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/tobias_weber/56664 Ft: (Smiling Cynic)