Writing and Publishing Personal Essays on Health, Illness, Caregiving, and the Making of the Healthcare Professional

Carolyn Roy-Bornstein MD will lecture on writing successful personal essays that transcend writers’ lived experience, bring fresh insights, and impart universal lessons or takeaways, with writing that moves us.


Target Audience: This is a talk for healthcare professionals who want to write and publish personal essays about their “coming-of-age” as physicians, their meaningful interactions with patients, or their own experiences of illness and grief, trauma and loss.

At the end of this talk, attendees will be able to:

• Recognize that a successful personal essay must transcend the individual experience. It must connect the essay’s core themes to universal truths, or capture the cultural zeitgeist in a way that moves, inspires or surprises.
• Find a new angle or a fresh perspective to bring to a traditional medical journey narrative.
• Understand the various essay structures such as lyric, hermit crab, braided, and collage.
• Borrow techniques from fiction writing such as character development, setting, description, effective use of dialogue, conflict and suspense.
• Be familiar with both literary magazines and personal essay columns in medical journals that accept medically themed personal essays.

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Carolyn Roy-Bornstein MD FAAP

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Carolyn Roy-Bornstein MD FAAP


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