Scott Alderman,
Founding Director

Scott Alderman is an idea man, producer, and organizer. After getting thrown out of college his freshman year, he began working in the music business, first as a roadie and stage manager, and then as road manager and agent for jazz artists including Lionel Hampton, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Mose Allison, and Barney Kessel. He has worked in human services, as a counselor at a residence for homeless people with AIDS in New York, and at a methadone clinic in San Francisco. His career has included stints in back-office operations, first at Morgan Stanley, and then as managing director of a publicly traded NYC-based messenger company. In 1998, Scott returned to the music business to launch the Tattoo the Earth festivals, which included an eighteen-city US tour in 2000 with stops at Giants Stadium, Red Rocks, and Suffolk Downs, and featured Metallica, Stone Temple Pilots, and Slipknot. In 2001, after the law banning tattooing in Massachusetts was overturned, he produced the first tattoo festival in the state. From 2010 to 2014, he was administrative director for the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The narrative thread that runs through all of Scott's work is a fierce dedication to ideas, design, action, and results, and a lifelong desire to make a difference. Scott has a BA in literature and writing from Columbia University. 


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Vivian Heller, Ph.D
Founding Director & Core Faculty

Vivian Heller received her Ph.D. in English Literature and Modern Studies from Yale University. Her non-fiction publications include Joyce, Decadence, and Emancipation (University of Illinois Press) which won the Choice Book Award, and The City Beneath Us (W.W. Norton & Company.) Her essays have appeared in New Observations, The Journal of Literature and Medicine and The Georgetown Review. Her short stories have appeared in Confrontation, Bomb and Fence. She received a NYFA Fellowship in 2011 and a Yaddo Fellowship in 2013 to complete her upcoming book, a work of creative non-fiction based on family archives. She has taught literature and writing at Bennington, Barnard and Bard. She has worked as a facilitator and scribe for Narrative Medicine workshops at The NYU/Bellevue Program for the Survivors of Torture. She is a long-standing member of the PEN Prison-Writing Committee.



Craig Irvine, Ph.D
Founding Director & Core Faculty

Craig Irvine is a founder and Academic Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, and holds his Ph.D in Philosophy from Penn State University. For more than 15 years, he has been designing and teaching cultural competency, ethics, Narrative Medicine, and Humanities and Medicine curricula for residents, medical students, physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, dentists, and other health professionals. He has over 20 years of experience researching the history of philosophy, phenomenology, and narrative ethics, and over 25 years of experience teaching ethics, humanities, the history of philosophy, logic, and narrative medicine at the graduate, undergraduate, and preparatory school levels. He has published articles in the areas of ethics, residency education, and literature and medicine and has presented at numerous national and international conferences on these and other topics. Craig received his BA in Philosophy from Saint John’s University.


Maura Spiegel, Ph.D 
Founding Director & Core Faculty

Maura Spiegel is Senior Lecturer of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Barnard College, where she teaches courses on fiction and film, and is a founder and Associate Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine. She is the co-author of The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying and Living On (Anchor/Doubleday), The Breast Book: An Intimate and Curious History (Workman), which was a Book-of-the-Month Club Quality Paperbacks selection. She co-edited the journal Literature and Medicine (Johns Hopkins University press) for seven years. She has written for The New York Times, and has published essays on the history of the emotions, Charles Dickens, diamonds in the movies, among many other topics. She is currently writing a book about the life and films of Sidney Lumet for St. Martin’s Press.

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Arthur W. Frank, Ph.D
Core Faculty

Arthur Frank 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.


Jack Saul, Ph.D 
Core Faculty

Jack Saul is the Founding Director of the International Trauma Studies Program, an independent post-graduate training and research institute affiliated with Columbia University. As a psychologist he has created a number of programs for populations in New York City that have endured war, torture, and political violence, including the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, REFUGE (Refugee Resource Center), Theater Arts Against Political Violence, the Post-9/11 Downtown Community Resource Center, and African Refuge. He consults with organizations on staff welfare in response to trauma-related work and has a private practice in Manhattan. He is the author of the recently published Collective Trauma, Collective Healing: Promoting Community Resilience in the Aftermath of Disaster (Routledge). Jack is Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.