Madaline (Linn) Harrison, M.D.
Charlottesville, VA

Linn Harrison is Professor of Neurology at the University of Virginia and directs the Movement Disorders Division in the Department of Neurology. She sees patients with Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, dystonia, tremor, Tourette's syndrome, and other conditions and founded the UVA Huntington's Disease Program, an HDSA Center of Excellence which provides clinical and genetic counseling services to patients and families through a multidisciplinary clinic. In addition to her clinical activities in Neurology, she is a founding member of the Academy of Distinguished Educators at the University of Virginia. She was selected to participate in the Macy Humanism and Medicine Faculty Development program at UVA, Passing the Torch, from 2012-2013 and in 2014, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.


Why did you choose the CNP's certificate program?

I participated in a weekend workshop in Narrative Medicine at Columbia in 2013 and felt immediately that this was a way to articulate and integrate the elements in medicine which were the most important in my own experience and yet not often discussed or taught. I wanted to learn more but attending a conventional master's program was not an option for me, as I had full time professional obligations at UVA. When I learned about this program, I knew immediately that I wanted to participate in order to learn how to bring these approaches into my own teaching and the medical education program at UVA.

What has been your experience with low-residency education, e.g. August residency week, online sessions?

The intensive week in August was exhilarating and opened up so many new perspectives and approaches to narrative and stories. Each on-line session has added to and reinforced the sense of excitement I felt during those sessions. The on-line approach has been more accessible and effective than I had anticipated and has succeeded in building on the foundation of the initial week.


What has the highlight of the program been for you so far?

The opportunity to work closely with such an amazing and talented group, both faculty and students, has truly been a highlight. The knowledge and commitment that the faculty bring to this have been inspiring and I feel honored to be able to work with them. The creativity and unique perspectives of my fellow students of all ages and backgrounds have expanded my view of the possibilities of the narrative approach.

How do you envision you will apply this intensive training in narrative in your life, professionally and/or personally?

I am exploring a number of possible avenues to bring the narrative approach into teaching both medical students and residents. As a pilot project, I am working with a colleague to introduce narrative practice sessions into a curriculum she has designed to foster medical students' capacity for wisdom through a four year longitudinal relationship with patients. Within my Department, I am discussing development of a Humanities track in the residency using these techniques. On a personal level, the experience has stimulated me to expand my reading and to resume my own writing and has renewed my commitment to what I value most about my work in medicine.