Narrative Medicine &

Pediatric Rheumatology

What is Narrative Medicine?

Narrative medicine, or the use of art, music and writing to share stories and process experiences in medicine, is a novel field that shows great promise for patient, caregiver, and provider wellbeing. Dr. Rita Charon and Dr. Elizabeth Lahti, two heroines in the field, have crafted a space for medical professionals and others to process the clinical experience. Through the Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia and the Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative, Dr. Charon and Dr. Lahti are engaging individuals nationally and internationally with the narrative pedagogy. While narrative medicine has been established since the early 2000's, medicine in general and rheumatology in particular are only now, in a post-CoVID era, capitalizing on the value of this narrative arena.

Our Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) Narrative Medicine Workgroup has been established since 2021 within the CARRA umbrella, working to bring narrative medicine to the pediatric rheumatology realm. Together, we aim to promote, coordinate and direct research efforts for understanding the impact narrative medicine can have on pediatric rheumatology patients, caregivers, and providers alike. By incorporating patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and staff under the CARRA umbrella, we offer a unified space for all members to engage in potential research avenues integrating narrative medicine techniques with the aim of improving patient and provider health.

Aviya Lanis, MD

Aviya Lanis, MD is a pediatrician currently in pediatric rheumatology fellowship training at Seattle Children's Hospital. She earned her medical degree at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, RI and completed her pediatrics residency at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, NY. Dr. Lanis is the founder and leader of the Narrative Medicine Workgroup affiliated with CARRA, a national organization focused on advancing research within pediatric rheumatology. She has spearheaded and published narrative medicine-based research initiatives bringing the narrative arts to patients and providers in the pediatric rheumatology realm. Dr. Lanis is passionate about narrative medicine as a therapeutic tool to address anxiety, depression and disconnectedness, particularly for patients with chronic illness. She is the recipient of several grants supporting her work, including funding through Harmony 4 Hope, Cure JM, and the University of Washington Housestaff Quality and Safety Committee. She has published articles in the fields of juvenile dermatomyositis and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis, among others. Dr. Lanis has been recognized with a Resident Teaching Award and has been honored as a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society. 

Suzanne Edison, MA MFA

Suzanne Edison, MA, MFA, writes often about the intersection of illness, healing, medicine and art. Her poetry book, Since the House Is Burning, from MoonPath Press was published in 2022. Her chapbook, The Body Lives Its Undoing, was published in 2018 by Benaroya Research Institute. Poetry can be found in: Michigan Quarterly Review; JAMA; HEAL; SWWIM Every Day; Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine; Lily Poetry Review; The Ekphrastic Review, and in several anthologies including: The Healing Art of Writing, Volume One. Suzanne is a Hedgebrook 2019 alum and teaches writing workshops in Seattle and through UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Wellness Center for Chronic Conditions. She is also the Mental Health Coordinator at the Cure JM Foundation and is a member of the Mental Health Task Force and working group of CARRA. She also co-leads the Narrative Medicine sub-group with Aviya Lanis, MD. Additional information can be found here.