Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Emily Silverman

Storytelling, Medicine, and the End of Life

2018-19 CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
6:00–8:00 p.m.
Davis Auditorium, Schapiro CEPSR

Founded in 2016 by Emily Silverman, MD, The Nocturnists began as a scrappy gathering of medical residents sharing intimate, personal stories about life in medicine. Today, it is a popular live storytelling event for sold-out audiences of health care professionals in the Bay Area (with plans for a show in New York City on 10/30/18), and growing podcast. In this talk, Emily will walk the audience through her awakening to the power of storytelling, how it transformed her approach to medicine, and how it helps health workers -- whose must hold their patients' experience of illness, suffering, and death -- to heal and connect.


Emily Silverman grew up an only child in the suburbs of Miami, Florida. Fascinated by the human body in elementary school, she devoured Magic School Bus books and idolized her pediatrician, Dr. Keller. She went to Brown University for college, where she majored in History of Art and Architecture, briefly flirting with a career in the art world before heading down the pre-med path. She went to medical school at Johns Hopkins University, and completed her internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Currently, Emily is an academic hospitalist at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where she seeks out projects that resurrect the narrative soul of medicine. She is the host and creator of The Nocturnists, a live storytelling event and podcast for physicians and other health care workers. She wrote a series of prose poems about her experiences as a medical resident, and is working on her first book. Her writing is animated by a deep-seated curiosity about science, human nature, and what it means to live and die well. In her spare time she enjoys teaching herself electric guitar, listening to podcasts, and traveling with her husband Boaz. She tweets @ESilvermanMD.

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