Creative Writing Workshops in Narrative Medicine for Medical Students, Residents & Fellows with Author Peggy Rambach


Narrative Medicine

A Memoir Writing Workshop for Medical Students and Residents and Fellows to develop:

  • observational skills

  • communication skills

  • a resource to prevent burnout

  • compassion

This workshop offers medical students the opportunity to write about their life experiences in the form of memoir. With the camaraderie of class members, students will read work-in-progress for discussion, affirmation, and critique. Students should plan to spend approximately 2 hours a week on writing outside of class-time.

Goals: Writing memoir cultivates your observational abilities and your sensitivity to the world around you. It deepens your self-knowledge and conception of life’s emotional complexities and so will help you to recognize the broader ramifications of illness that patients and their families must face and the many complex and layered issues that arise daily in the field of medicine.

Objectives: There is no page requirement. You will most likely complete one or two short pieces or you may find you complete the beginning of a longer work. Mostly, the objective of this class is for you to discover writing as a creative outlet that will sustain you throughout your career - a means of relieving stress, a means of more fully understanding the needs of your patients, and a way to express and understand not only past experience, but also those that await you in the future.

Student Response: Tufts University School of Medicine

While a lot of our medical education (so far) involves memorizing thousands of new terms per month I was happy to challenge myself to also be a creative person. The course has helped me become more self aware and reflective. In writing I have begun to understand my flaws and this is the first step in trying to change them. As a teacher Peggy Rambach provided the necessary guidance to point us in the right direction. She was subtle enough in her criticisms that she got her points across without hurting our feelings.

Rather than writing terse phrases at the base of a paragraph, she gave me concrete suggestions that helped focus and direct my writing. By helping me to find my voice as a writer I think she has helped me also find my voice as a person. The final thing that the course provided me was an opportunity to understand my classmates in a more intimate setting. When I see these classmates on campus I feel a greater sense of camaraderie with them. Most of our time at the med school is spent in class or studying so it has been reassuring to know that students are making an attempt to lead richer lives. I hope that this course continues to be offered as it was the highlight of my first semester. I feel that it will make me a better doctor.

-- David Ferrone

Fee Structure:

Standard fee per hour: $60

One full-day residency: $500

6 week residency or 60 contact/non-contact hours: $3,600

All residency fees are negotiable.

Peggy Rambach collaborates with facilities and arts agencies to procure funding for her residencies.

General Statement About Workshops:

All of Peggy Rambach’s workshops can be designed for a one-hour presentation, a weekend to two week intensive, and a six - ten week session. All workshops culminate with a reading and website and/or hard copy publication of participants’ work. Participants are encouraged to determine their own topics that are more meaningful and relevant to the writer than guided exercises. All submissions to the booklet/website publication, and participation in the reading are voluntary. HIPAA Laws are observed in health care settings. All workshops in health care settings are followed by a twenty-minute debrief session with staff and/or administrators. Generally, workshop enrollment is limited to 12 participants.


Funders and Partnerships: Schwartz Center ( Vermont Arts Exchange ( ( Tufts University School of Medicine (