Rheum to Heal – A New Initiative from The Hospital for Special Surgery

Rheum to Heal – A New Initiative from The Hospital for Special Surgery

Rheum to Heal is the first ever narrative medicine journal in rheumatology. This is a place for patients, family members, physicians and all those whose lives are influenced by and those who influence the field of rheumatology to share their stories, their artwork, and their inspirations. Please join us on this journey into the lives and narratives of our contributors.

We invite everyone in the vasculitis community to become part of this journey with us and to contribute to the growth of this journal.

We welcome poetry, photography or prose, on or related to themes of health, healing, navigating illness, mind, body and/or self-transformations within the field of rheumatology. This is a journal for, by and about our patients and their caregivers.

What we hope to do
Patients want and deserve physicians who do more than just treat symptoms. A genuine caregiver is someone who places these symptoms in the broad set of circumstances that govern the patient’s life. We live in an era where molecular genetics has transformed the study of human disease, and advancing technology is providing tools to combat traditional gaps in knowledge.

However, we cannot forsake the tools of compassion and listening, for it is the presence of the physician that kindles the light of hope in the patient’s period of unbearable pain and despair. In illness, the body becomes alienated from the self. Physicians, witnessing this struggle, assist patients in navigating that which is unfamiliar and uncertain. It is not just about treating symptoms or prescribing medications; physicians become part of patients’ stories as they unfold.

We take them for granted. However, our lives are made up of stories. With the evolution of contemporary evidence-based medicine, narratives have been labeled as “soft” and have often been neglected in favor of “hard” facts and findings, which are considered more objective and scientific.

In sponsoring this narrative medicine journal, our hope is to build a sense of community among people with similar health struggles and reduce the sense of isolation that often accompanies chronic illness. We acknowledge that physicians do not have a monopoly on wisdom and hope to decrease the psychological distance between physician and patient. Through this highly accessible tool, we will be able to bring attention to rheumatic diseases, some of which are rare and understudied, and also to the emphasis of humanistic, patient-centered approaches in the
field of rheumatology as a whole. We know that our patients’ voices are often lost and we wish to give you a platform to share your stories.

To learn more about Rheum to Heal, click here.

Editorial Board, Division of Rheumatology, The Hospital for Special Surgery
Dr. Robert Spiera, Dr. Stephen Paget, Dr. Jessica Berman, Dr. Ronald MacKenzie, Dr. Michael
Lockshin, Dr. Juliet Aizer, Su Jin Kim LCSW, Kamini Doobay and Daniele Lerner