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EU NAMES: the European Narrative Medicine Society is dawning

The EUropean NArrative Medicine Society was born from an idea of the Italian Society of Narrative Medicine (SIMeN)EuNames is a non-profit association of researchers dedicated to the investigation of Medical Humanities, Narrative Medicine and other languages of care in the medical field. The purpose of the Association is to improve the health systems, at European level, aiming at the creation of a psychosocial and spiritual care model.

Narrative medicine and medical humanities

With the word narrative, we mean every kind of expression form (written text, oral story, body, art, music, film) which can be used, together with quantitative data, to improve the quality of life of patients, people living in critical conditions, their family members, healthcare professionals, and citizens. While Medical Humanities refer particularly to “artificial” texts, invented or inspired by the object of illness, Narrative Medicine concerns real narratives collected within daily clinical practice from patients, health care professionals, family members and other stakeholders involved in the health care process.

The purpose of EuNames is to promote and strengthen dialogues and discussions on the present and the future of Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine, involving healthcare professionals, researchers (both academics and non-academics), teachers and other professionals coming from every branch. All this contributes to improving the well-being of both people who suffer from a physical condition or a mental illness and their health workers.

Why Europe

Today, Europe is undergoing a profound transformation due to the great migratory movements on the one hand, and the need to proclaim and safeguard the sovereignty of the different countries on the other. Health is a Human Right endorsed and defended by the World Health Organization, and the European section of the WHO has published a fundamental document on narrative research [1], which underlines the equalitarian importance of narrative discipline and the clinical and scientific competence in this complicated context. Beyond this, WHO- Europe has launched in November the first report concerning Art Therapy (Humanities for Health) and Clinical Outcomes [2].

These are the main reasons for the call to establish the EUropean NArrative MEdicine Society. Since there is no European Network of Narrative Medicine, this society is ready to fill this gap in a historic moment when European community is in danger from a cultural point of view and aim to promote a transdisciplinary approach between narrative and scientific competences to foster a better quality in the healthcare system in every participating country.

Another issue is that there are few Medical Humanities working groups, and they mainly belong to the academic world: thanks to the presence of the European Narrative Medicine Society, not only the academy will be represented but also other institutions and lay experts. 

Major endpoint for the year 2020, after its foundation, is the writing of the Chart of the European Narrative Health and Medicine Field of Action for citizens’, patients, caregivers and health care providers, and cross multidisciplinary scholars. 

The Committee

The people proposed for active participation in the European Society are scholars, experts in Medical Humanities, narrative medicine and patients. The first adhesions to EU NAMES come from Italy, France, United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Germany, Romania and Turkey

Founder and current president for the first two years of the European Society of Narrative Medicine proposed is Maria Giulia Marini (2020-2022), proposed by the SIMEN (Società Italiana di Medicina Narrativa) steering committee.

The President is in charge for two years, and is elected by the Council of the involved persons: since the idea originates from SIMeN, and in this first case due to the foundation, the President was proposed straight by the Committee of SIMEN.

The Committee is a dynamic body with the possibility of including new representatives from other European nations (from the Association’s contacts with the USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and Chile). This, in order to increase international contacts as much as possible. 

Methods of working

Meetings: technology can be the basic tool to meet online, through Skype conference, Zoom meeting, and other possible tools. The international network that constitutes the Association wants to organize a Congress every two years in different cities, and it will be organized together  with Congress of the Italian Society of Narrative Medicine, the SIMEN.

The first congress to launch definitely the European Society will be held in Catania in 2022, in partnership with the Italian SIMEN Congress.

Members: the goal is to have at least 150 registered members in two years.

The communication channels for disseminating the objectives and purposes of the Association will be:

  • www.narrativemedicine.eu
  • www.eunames.eu (we are registering the website’s hosting, which will be ready in a week)
  • www.medicinanarrativa.it
  • participating members’ websites.

The membership fee to the European Narrative Medicine Society: 50 Euro per year. Benefits: online magazines, lessons and online discussions, networking of members in Europe and the world. 

The network official subsidiary for the time 2020 – 2022 will be the ISTUD Foundation in Milan, Italy.

Here the list of WHO-Europe member countries.

[1] http://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/cultural-contexts-of-health-the-use-of-narrative-research-in-the-health-sector-2016

[2] http://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/what-is-the-evidence-on-the-role-of-the-arts-in-improving-health-and-well-being-a-scoping-review-2019

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Epidemiologist and counselor – 30 years of professional life in health care. Classic humanistic background, including the study of Latin and ancient Greek, followed by scientific academic studies, chemistry and pharmacology. First years of career, in private international environment. I worked in medical research, moved to health care organization, getting academic specialization in Epidemiology. Later, in consultancy and health care education. Counselor with transactional analysis orientation. Currently, director of Innovation in Health Care Area of Fondazione ISTUD, an independent not for profit Italian Business School with an humanistic approach acknowledged by the Italian Ministry of Researech.. Active member of the board of Italian Society of Narrative Medicine, tenured professor of Narrative Medicine at Hunimed, Milan, and in 2016, referee for World Health Organization for “Narrative Method in Public Health.” Writer of the book; “Narrative medicine: Bridging the gap between Evidence Based care and Medical Humanities,” edited with Springer and of international publications on narrative medicine in scientific journals. Last book “The Languages of care in narrative medicine: words, space and sounds in the healthcare ecosystem”. Lecturer in different international contexts from Academy to Public and Private Foundations.

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