NEH's Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities to Stream Live | St. Lawrence University

NEH's Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities to Stream Live

St. Lawrence University will livestream the 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, in Hepburn Hall Auditorium, room 218. The event is free and open to the public.

The lecture will be delivered by Rita Charon, professor of medical humanities and ethics at Columbia University, whose lecture is titled, “To See the Suffering: The Humanities Have What Medicine Needs.” The lecture will also stream online at

A Harvard-trained physician with a Ph.D. in English literature, Charon is the founding chair and professor of medical humanities and ethics and professor of medicine at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The new department is home to the discipline of narrative medicine, which seeks to improve patient care by putting the act of storytelling at the heart of medical practice.

The practice of narrative medicine, Charon has said, helps health care professionals develop a tolerance of uncertainty, improves the functioning of health care teams, decreases professional burnout, and deepens understanding between patients and their doctors. “To talk with a seriously ill person about his or her near future brings both conversationalists straight toward what it means to be alive,” Charon wrote in 2017. Her work in narrative medicine has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American College of Physicians, the Society for Health and Human Values, and the Society of General Internal Medicine.

“In her pioneering work in narrative medicine, Rita Charon has shown the amazing power of the humanities in healing both mind and body,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “She has played an essential role in reminding us that the humanities also enrich the lives of caregivers, not just their patients. Her scholarship gets to the very core of the human condition.”

The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, established by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1972, is the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

For more information, visit Corporate and Foundation Relations.