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Doctors should consider the use of narrative -- in the form of patient stories and testimonials -- as a powerful tool for translating and communicating evidence-based policies to the public to buoy buy-in on important health issues such as cancer screenings and vaccination mandates, according to two physicians from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania writing this week in JAMA. They suggest two strategies: The use of so-called "counternarratives," which can play a role in neutralizing personal stories – often promoted by celebrities via the news media -- that support disproven theories, and narratives about the process of scientific study and discovery, to unmask the often hidden work of researchers and guidelines committees. The commentary is authored by Zachary Meisel, MD, MPH, MS, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Economics and Jason Karlawish, MD, a professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.
Penn Medicine News Release