advisory board


Catherine Belling, Ph.D is Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Born in South Africa, she moved to the United States on a Fulbright grant to complete her doctorate in English at Stony Brook University, New York. Her dissertation was about representations of Vesalian anatomy and humoral physiology in British Renaissance drama. Her first book, A Condition of Doubt: On the Meanings of Hypochondria (Oxford, 2012), won the 2013 Kendrick Book Prize (Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts), and one of her articles, “Narrative Oncogenesis: The Problem of Telling When Cancer Begins” (Narrative, 18), won the 2010 Schachterle Prize. Her present work explores horror, as representational genre and as affective / ethical response, in medicine. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Literature and Medicine (Johns Hopkins U Press), chair of the new MLA forum on Medical Humanities and Health Studies, and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.


Ann Burack-Weiss, PhD, LCSW is a social work practitioner, consultant, and educator who taught two generations of students at the Columbia School of Social Work, specializing in the fields of health, gerontology, staff development, and supervision. She is now an associate faculty member at Columbia"s Program in Narrative Medicine.

Her latest book is The Lioness in Winter: Writing an Old Woman"s Life. She is also the author of The Caregiver's Tale: Loss and Renewal in Memoirs of Family Life, and co-author with Frances Coyle Brennan, of Gerontological Supervision: A Social Work Perspective in Case Management and Direct Care.

Dr Burack-Weiss, an NASW Social Work Pioneer, is committed to integrating narrative practice into social work curricula and agencies. She is convener of the Narrative Social Work Group of New York City. And is currently co-editing the 17 chapter collection 'Narrative Social Work: Accounts from the Field,' with Lynn Sara Lawrence and Lynne Bamat Mijangos.


Thomas Cole, Ph.D is the McGovern Chair in Medical Humanities and Director of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics UT Health in Houston. Cole graduated from Yale University (B.A. Philosophy, 1971), Wesleyan University (M.A., History, 1975) and the University of Rochester, (Ph.D., History, 1981). Dr. Cole has published many articles and several books on the history of aging and humanistic gerontology. His book The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America (Cambridge University Press, 1992) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book is the co-edited textbook, Medical Humanities: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Cole's interest in the life stories of older people has taken him into biography and film-making. In 1984, he encountered a hospitalized psychiatric patient who claimed he was the "original Texas integration leader." Their collaboration resulted in a book--No Color Is My Kind: the Life of Eldrewey Stearns and the Desegregation of Houston (1997) - and an accompanying film, The Strange Demise of Jim Crow, broadcast nationally on over 60 PBS stations and internationally by the State Department. Cole's work has been featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Voice of America, PBS, and at the United Nations. He serves as an advisor to the United Nations NGO Committee on Ageing, the Union for Reform Judaism and various editorial and foundation boards.

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Arthur Frank, Ph.D is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Calgary, where he has taught since 1975. He currently is professor at Betanien College, Bergen, Norway. He lives in Calgary.

Trained as a medical sociologist (Ph.D., Yale, 1975), he is the author of a memoir of critical illness, At the Will of the Body (1991; new edition 2002); a study of first-person illness narratives, The Wounded Storyteller (1995; expanded edition, 2013); a book on care as dialogue, The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine and How to Live (2004); and most recently, a book on how stories affect our lives, Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-narratology (2010).

Dr. Frank has been visiting professor at the University of Sydney, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Keio University in Tokyo, and the University of Toronto, and a visiting fellow in bioethics at the University of Otago, New Zealand. For many years he was book review editor of the journal health: an interdisciplinary journal and among other editorial board appointments, he is a contributing editor to Literature and Medicine.

Dr. Frank is an elected Fellow of The Hastings Center and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was the 2008 recipient of the Abbyann Lynch Medal for Bioethics, awarded by the Royal Society of Canada.

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Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD is a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University. She was educated at Bryn Mawr College (AB, 1971) and Columbia University (MS, 1971; MD 1978). She is a board certified psychiatrist, having received her training at New York Hospital-Westchester Division (1978-1981) and Montefiore Hospital (1981-1982). She has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health. From her research, she has published Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It (2004), and The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place (1999). She is a co-author of Rodrick Wallace’s Collective Consciousness and Its Discontents: Institutional Distributed Cognition, Racial Policy and Public Health in the United States (2008). She has published numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs. She has received many awards, including inclusion on “Best Doctors” lists and two honorary doctorates (Chatham College, 1999, and Bank Street College of Education, 2002). Her work in AIDS in featured in Jacob Levenson’s The Secret Epidemic: The Story of AIDS in Black America. Her latest book, Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities, was released in June, 2013.


Paul Lazar’s film career includes roles in Silence of the Lambs, Mickey Blue Eyes, Lorenzo's Oil, Philadelphia, The Host and Snowpiercer as well as numerous other films and television shows. Paul founded Big Dance Theater in 1991 with Annie-B Parson. His work with the company includes conceiving, directing and/or performing in such works as “Triple Feature” (BAM), Supernatural Wife (BAM), Comme Toujours Here I Stand (The Kitchen), PLAN B, Mac Wellman’s Antigone, Another Telepathic Thing, Shunkin, , Mac Wellman’s Girl Gone, Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart, Odon von Horvath’s Don Juan Returns from the Warand Fassbinder’s Bremen Freedom. He received a BESSIE in 2002. As an Associate Member of the Wooster Group Mr. Lazar has appeared in The Wooster Group’s North Atlantic, Brace Up!, Emperor Jones and The Hairy Ape. Other acting credits include “Tamburlaine” directed by Sir Michael Boyd, “The Three Sisters” directed by Austin Pendleton, Marie Irene Fornes' Mudd, Richard Maxwell's Cowboys and Indians, Young Jean Lee’s “Lear”, “The False Servant” and "Richard The Third" directed by Brian Kulick. Paul directed Young Jean Lee’s “We’re Gonna Die” which will be reprised in London this summer featuring David Byrne. Other directing credits include “Bodycast” with Fran McDormand (BAM), Christina Masciotti’s “Social Security” (Bushwick Starr) “Major Bang” (for The Foundry Theatre) at Saint Ann’s Warehouse. He is an instructor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has taught Acting, Direting or Theatre History at SUNY/Purchase, Rutgers University, The Bill Esper Studio and The Michael Howard Studio. This Fall (2015) he will be teaching at Yale College.