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At Cooper Story Slam, Doctors Tell Of Healing Patients And Themselves –

October 25, 2016 by: Stacey Burling

Anthony Mazzarelli’s story started with a scene in an obstetrics triage area.

The emergency physician was watching as a nurse and resident examined a woman — nine months pregnant — who hadn’t felt her baby move in few hours.

As good stories often do, this one soon took a twist that led straight to the heart.

Mazzarelli was one of seven medical workers — six doctors and a nurse — from Cooper University Health Care and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University brave enough to tell five-minute stories before a crowd of about 200 medical students and coworkers in the organizations’ first story slam. The event, presented by the Cooper Foundation, took the place of a more traditional lecture during this year’s Berkowitz Family Foundation Lecture on Ethics and Humanism in Medicine.

Susan Bass-Levin, president and CEO of the foundation, said the slam was meant to be a “different way of learning” and reminder for everyone that the human element of medicine “should be part of every medical decision every single day.”

It was modeled after an experimental story slam the Annals of Internal Medicine tried last year. Christine Laine, editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia-based medical journal, said its On Being a Doctor essays are an extremely popular feature. The journal recently has also published graphic medicine stories, told in a comic format. Laine wanted to try oral storytelling as an outlet for physicians who are more comfortable with talking than writing.

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