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Annie Brewster, MD, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a practicing internist at Massachusetts General Hospital who works to promote storytelling as part of the practice of medicine.
Annie Brewster, MD, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a practicing Internist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. She is also a patient, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001.
Like many doctors, she would say that what drew her to medicine is her love for human connection. Her experiences with the medical profession, however, both as a practitioner and as a patient, have convinced her that today’s medical system, focused more on efficiency and scientific mastery than on relationships, often overlooks what is most important: the stories of people’s lives. The result is many unhappy patients and many dissatisfied doctors.
In 2010, motivated by her belief in the power of stories to improve health, Dr. Brewster started recording patient narratives. Her finished audio stories have appeared on her local NPR stations health blog, as the “Listening to Patients” series.
In doing this work, she has seen first hand how the process of storytelling is itself therapeutic, both for the storytellers and the listeners. Research supports this claim. Health Story Collaborative, the 501 (c)(3) organization she founded, grew out of this work. She is committed to keeping the patient voice alive and to reclaiming the power of stories in healthcare.
Her work has been published on the WBUR CommonHealth Blog, NPR.org, the New York Times Well Blog, and in the Boston Globe and MS Focus magazine. She has been featured in Harvard Medicine magazine, and on the cable television program About Health with Jeanne Blake. She presented at TEDx Fenway 2014
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