A word in four hundred words – Association

The word association is a noun derived from the verb to associate through the addition of the suffix –tion, which expresses the effect or result of the action. The verb associate in turn is derived from the late Latin associare, composed of the preposition a, meaning “toward,” and socius, meaning “associate,” with affective, political, legal and military nuances of meaning.

Association means the coming together of several people to pursue a common purpose as a group. In addition to a purpose, an organization is normally characterized by the contribution that each individual involved makes and the internal organization that structures it.

In the March issue we mapped and presented some of the most interesting associations, groups and initiatives in the field of narrative medicine and health humanities. We therefore interviewed some of their members to find out from the inside what the history, mission, present and future plans of these organizations are.

This issue finds its raison d’être in the aknolegment that every medical, nursing, and clinical practice still risks becoming “tyrannized” by evidence-based medicine and that the new paths promoted by narrative medicine and health humanities still encounter much prejudice. This appears to be true despite the growing number of university courses and research centers dedicated to these subjects, and their effective use in the clinical setting.

The associations we asked to tell their stories are committed in every corner of the world to promoting the study, teaching and activities of narrative medicine and health humanities. These are groups that have sprung up independently in different places and contexts, with structures, methodologies and aims that are sometimes different, but converging in supporting a counterpart to evidence-based medicine, because health is a balance not only biological, but also psychological, social and religious/existential.

Realizing that the associations represented here are just few example of what the world of humanities for health has to offer, we share the questions we have circulated and invite you to respond or contact us if you too are part of groups with consonant aims because chorality and dialogue are essential to counterbalance the dogma of evidence alone.

  • What is the name of your organization/association/society/research group?
  • What is its history and background?
  • What is its mission and philosophy?
  • How is it framed today?
  • What are the main ongoing projects?
  • What are the plans for the future?
  • Where has the organization/association/group found resistance or difficulties (e.g., shortage of health professionals, time pressure, EBM dogma…)?

Enrica Leydi

Born in Milan, she obtained a three-year degree in Modern Literature at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna. She is currently completing her Master's degree in Italian Studies at the same university in Emilia. She has been collaborating with ISTUD since April 2021 as coordinator of the journal "Cronache di Sanità e Medicina Narrativa".

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