My speaking and teaching philosophy is quite simple. I borrowed it from Kurt Vonnegut’s first of eight rules for writers. He said, “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”

I’ve had the privilege of speaking on topics that range from medical humanities, story as a clinical skill, creative writing, strategies to incorporate writing into a medical career, and medical ethics. I’ve also given presentations that have included selected readings from my work as a jumping off point for group dialogue on a number of issues, including end of life, social determinants of health, caregiver frustration, physician bias, wellness, making mistakes, medical training, and nonmedical challenges facing clinicians.

I’m also available for book club discussions or classroom conversations. I’m committed to working with institutions or conferences to better understand how my visit can meet the needs of their students or audience.

by MK Czerwiec, a.k.a "Comic Nurse."

9/18/2016 Stanford MedX Panel,"Design thinking inside out” with friends Kirsten Ostherr, Matthew Trowbridge, Bon Ku & Joyce Lee



dotMD 3/10/2017 “Not knowing in medicine, Dublin, Ireland.

9/18/2016 Stanford MedX Panel,"Design thinking inside out” with friends Kirsten Ostherr, Matthew Trowbridge, Bon Ku & Joyce Lee

Selected talks and readings


  • 5/12/2023 Navigating moral injury: from isolation to community, ADA County Medicine Society Annual Meeting, Boise Idaho
  • 5/12/2023 A narrative approach to moral distress: a 4 hour workshop, ADA County Medicine Society, Boise Idaho
  • 4/26/2023 Working with the messy in medicine: a role for uncertainty and not knowing” Medicine Grand Rounds, University of Miami, Miami, FL.
  • 4/19/2023  University of Toronto Narrative-Based Practice Lab, Toronto, Canada
  • 3/22/2023 “Why do doctors choose to write books,” MIT Museum, with the incredible Mikkael Sekeres and Deborah Blum
  • 3/1/2023 “Writing the unspoken for the public,” Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard College
  • 2/17/ 2023 “Creativity and Uncertainty in Medicine” University Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland.
  • 2/16/2023 “Better Uncertainty: Bedside Narrative Tools,” Medicine Grand Rounds, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2/16/2023 “Creativity as a Clinical Skill,” To first year medical students and faculty  at University College Dublin School of Medicine, Dublin, Ireland
  • 1/4/2023  “Narrative tips and pitfalls in emergency medicine” Beth Israel Deaconess Emergency Medicine Grand Rounds 
  • 1/5/2023 “Stories as unchartered territories: constraints and creativity” Montgomery Lecture, Medical Humanities and Bioethics MA program, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine


  • 9/1/2022 Book launch, "Tornado of Life: A Doctors Journey Through Constraints and Creativity in the ER" Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge MA
  • 4/1/2021 “The Creature, Covid, and Us: An ER doc reads between the frontlines” Bristol Bookfest, plenary speaker. Bristol, RI. 
  • 3/25-27/2022 "Preparedness/Processing: Health Humanities on the Frontlines"  Panel lead, 10th International Health Humanities Consortium Conference 
  • 1/15/2022 UMN Project for Advancing Healthcare Stewardship National Symposium, featured speaker “Fragments, Gutters, and Voice: Narrative Stewardship and Creativity.”


  • May 26, 2021 Creativity and Narrative in Clinical Practice, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) Emergency Medicine residency medical humanities track students and faculty
  • March 26, 2021. Health Humanities Consortium International Conference, “Asking Critical Questions of Front Line Providers During a Pandemic: using digital humanities as a platform for tough discussions,” Dr. Mike Barthman and Dr. Jay Baruch
  • March 22, 2021 “Writing, Creativity and Uncertainty in Medicine” invited to give joint talk to University of Nebraska Omaha undergraduate and graduate students in class “Writing, Sickness and Health” and Brandeis University undergraduate class on Medical Uncertainty
  • January 14, 2021 “Forging a creative career path in medical humanities” Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Medical Humanities and Bioethics Masters Program (Zoom)


  • October 29, 2020  “Covid,creativity, adaptability” International Dyslexia Association LD Independent School Network meeting
  • 10/17/2020 American Society for Bioethics and Humanities annual meeting. Plenary panel. "Getting messy with stories” in "What about the 'H' in ASBH? Exploring the Intersections Across Bioethics and Humanities" (Zoom)
  • 10/16/2020 Panel discussion “Innovators stories in creativity” University of Michigan Medical School Medical Education Faculty Symposium. (Zoom)
  • 10/16/2020 “Beyond Comfort Zones: Creativity as a clinical skill in academic medicine.” Plenary presentation, University of Michigan Medical School Medical Education Faculty Symposium. (Zoom)
  • 6/18/2020 “Medicine stories, stories in medicine” Zoom talk, students Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Masters of Bioethics and Health Policy
  • 5/12/2020 “Writing about doctoring in Covid: thinking about caring and risk”  Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, 2nd year class. (via Zoom)
  • 3/27/2020 Plenary panel, Keywords in Health Humanities: Creativity. Health Humanities Consortium annual meeting, Nashville TN (canceled due to Covid-19)
  • 3/4/2020 “The best medicine doesn’t work on the wrong story,” Nancy J. Solana Lectureship in Medical Humanities at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX


  • 11/20/19 “Messy Narratives and In-Between Spaces” 2nd Annual Volck Humanities Lectureship, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati OH.
  • 11/13/19 “Narrative Risks at the Bedside: Story as a Clinical Skill” Grand Rounds, University of Michigan EM residency, Ann Arbor, MI
  • 10/27/2019  American Society for Bioethics and Humanities national meeting, Pittsburgh, PA. “Interdisciplinary dialogues: voice, trust, and advocacy.”
  • 10/7/2019 “Why we need more not-knowing in medicine”  Med Ed Talks! Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence RI
  • 9/25/2019 Narrative Risks at the Bedside: Story as a Clinical Skill, Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine, Inaugural Health Humanities Speaker, Baltimore Maryland
  • 3/22/2019 “Can we write a better story for ourselves?” Plenary 6th National Nursing Ethics Conference, Los Angeles CA.
  • 3/22/2019 “Working with Uncertainty”  Workshop, 6th National Nursing Ethics Conference, Los Angeles CA.2018


  • 12/3/2018  "How the Patient Narrative Informs Treatment Decisions” American Society of Hematology annual meeting, San Diego, CA
  • 11/12/2018 Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine Annual Humanities Lectureship “Why we need more creativity in medicine.” Milwaukee, WI.
  • 10/17/2018 "Can more not-knowing make us better physicians?” FIX18 FEMinEM idea exchange, NY, NY
  • 8/15/2018  “Story, Creativity and Uncertainty: critical skills/critical spaces,” Boston Medical Center, Emergency Medicine residency, Boston MA
  • 5/3/2018 "Welcoming Crises: Storying into Medical Ethics," McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, University of Texas at Houston Medical School.
  • 4/27/2018 Guest writer, Northern Ohio Medical University, WCWilliams Award presentation & readings
  • 1/24/2018 “Narrative risks at the bedside.” NYU/Winthrop Hospital Department of Internal Medicine/Palliative Care Grand Rounds, Garden City NY
  • 1/18/2018 "Writing the medical experience", Literature and Medicine seminar, Medical and Masters Students, Harvard Medical School


  • 10/27/2017 “Critical Stories in critical spaces: decoding not-knowing” Keynote address, Mayo Clinic national medical humanities meeting, Rochester MN
  • 9/15/2017 “Why doctors must be creative: notes from a narrative disaster zone. Keynote address, Western Michigan humanities conference, Kalamazoo MI
  • 3/22-24/2017 "Doctors as makers: creativity in the clinic" and "Why physicians need to think like creative writers" and "Whose story to tell: the ethics of physicians writing their experience." Cowan Memorial Lecturer in Humanistic Medicine, Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities, University of Utah School of Medicine
  • 3/10/16 "Not Knowing in Medicine," dotMed conference, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2/1/16 "Doctors as Makers," University of Virginia School of Medicine, Moore Lecture, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities


  • 10/8/16 Panel, "Using social media to advance public literary in bioethics." American Society for Bioethics & Humanities meeting, Washington, DC.
  • 9/18/2016 Panel presentation, "Design thinking inside out" at Stanford MedX, Palo Alto, CA
  • 6/8/2016 Panel presentation & teaching demonstration with RISD Museum colleague at Art of Examination: Art Museum and Medical School Partnerships, Museum of Modern Art, NY, NY
  • 4/21/2016 “Narrative Risks in Clinical Medicine,” Montgomery Lecture, Feinberg School of Medicine, Medical Humanities Masters Program. Chicago, IL.
  • 4/9/2016 Panel, “Integrating museum and medical education: a multidisciplinary panel. Health Humanities Consortium national meeting, Cleveland, Ohio.


  • 11/17/2015 MedEdTalks2015 Alpert Medical School at Brown University: From Museum to Bedside: The Need for Museum Educators in Medical Education.
  • 10/23/2015 American Society for Bioethics and Humanities national meeting, Houston, TX part of panel presentation "Beyond Consent: Ethics of Reality TV in the Hospital"
  • 10/7/2015 Cleveland Clinic, Learner College of Medicine and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine Story Slam (reader, but more importantly, a judge of amazing work by talented medical students!)
  • 10/1/2015 Duffy Lecture in Medical Humanities, Yale School of Medicine "Why doctors should write creatively, or, why one doctor failed at 'not' writing."
  • 9/29/2015 Avon Public Library, Avon CT. Panel discussion on writing, ethics and emergency medicine
  • 4/15/2015 "What’s Left Out: Meeting the surreal in medicine through fiction. Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University.
  • 3/11/2015 Distinguished Visiter, Creighton University Medical School, “Narrative Risks in Clinical Medicine: Why Healthcare Providers Should Think Like Creative Writers.” Omaha, NE.
    3/11/2015 Speaker, KANEKO, “What’s Left Out.” Omaha, NE.


  • 11/19/2014 Presenter, New England Association of Museum Educators national meeting, Boston, MA on arts-based work between Alpert Medical School and RISD Museum
  • 10/22/2014 Visiting Professor, Humanities and Medical Ethics, University of Rochester Medical School
  • 4/30/2014 Scholarly Concentration panel: The Ethical and Journalistic Issues of Writing About Patients
  • 4/23/2014 Ethical issues in writing about the medical experience. Southern Oregon University Honors College students.
  • 4/24/2014 Why physicians should think like creative writers. Assante Regional Medical Center, Medford, Oregon.


  • 11/19/2013 Gold Humanism Induction Ceremony Plenary Speaker, Alpert Medical School. “In defense of cheaper stethoscopes.”
  • 11/19/13 Gold Humanism Lecture, Grand Rounds, Rhode Island Hospital. “Narrative risks in clinical medicine: why healthcare providers should think like creative writers.”
  • 10/18/13 Plenary speaker, Association for the Behavioral Sciences in Medical Education national meeting. “Story-Centric: Why healthcare providers must think like creative writers.”
  • 4/26/13 Millenial Medicine: Knowledge Design for an Age of Digital Disruption, Houston, Texas.
  • 4/18 and 19/2013 Reading and discussion on writing and medicine with the wonderful people at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Medical University and Hiram College.
  • 1/16/2013 Maurice B. Siegel, M.D. Lecturer in Humanism and Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

2012 - before

  • 1/11/12 UMass Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library 5pm. Talk and reading, "Medicine and Fiction: Writing Your Way into Trouble," sponsored by the Humanities and Medicine Committee of the Lamar Soutter Library.
  • 4/11/11 MakeItBetter at Rhode Island School of Design: Symposium on Art, Design and the Future of Healthcare
    Panel: RISD in Collaboration (Presented with Kelli Auerbach, MFA)
  • 10/23/10 American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Annual Meeting, San Diego. Panel: Witness and Response: Physician-Writers/Health/Illness/Justice
  • 10/18/10 Visions and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative— Truth and Consequences: Writing About Patients
  • 9/30-10/2/10 Keynote speaker. Quandaries in Healthcare Conference, Aspen CO. Topic: A Need to Confess: Writing About the Healthcare Experience
  • 9/24/10 AMSA Book Discussion Webinar Series
  • 4/30 and 5/1/09 Examined Life: Writing and the Art of Medicine, University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine
  • October 23, 2008 Panelist First Punch/Second Punch--No Punches Pulled--Reading and Rereading the House of God. The conference was Return to House of God--(W)rites of Passage. Cleveland, OH
  • 4/16/08 College of Physicians/Society for the Arts in Healthcare Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2/19/08 Humanities Perspectives lecture. “Pulling the Hat Out of the Rabbit, or Creating Fiction Out of Medicine.” Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • January 31, 2008 Guest Speaker, elective at Harvard Medical School, called “Narrative Ethics: Literary Texts and Moral Issues in Medicine.”
  • October 3, 2007 Reading at Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
  • 5/2/07 Reading, Mac’s Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH
  • 5/1-5/3/07 Visiting Lectureship, Hiram College, Center for Literature, Medicine, and Biomedical Humanities, Hiram OH
  • 4/24/07 Examined Life: Writing and the Art of Medicine, University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine
  • 3/28/06 Distinguished Visitor, Haverford College, Haverford, PA.