Medical Humanities Grand Rounds

Slowing Down for Stories: Medical Crises from Patients' Perspectives


UCSF Parnassus Campus, HSW-302

Writers Elizabeth Scarboro and Monica Wesolowska speak about using narrative to help make medical choices, the power of observation to slow us down in crisis, and the benefit of multiple perspectives on the hospital experience.

Elizabeth Scarboro is the author of the memoir My Foreign Cities, which was chosen as a San Francisco Chronicle Lit Pick, a Library Journal Best Memoir of 2013, and the winner of the 2014 Chautauqua Prize. My Foreign Cities chronicles Scarboro’s marriage to her first husband Stephen, who had cystic fibrosis, and received a double-lung transplant at UCSF in 1997. Scarboro is honored to speak at UCSF, where her husband received many years of excellent medical care, and which the couple considered a kind of second home. She is also the author of essays appearing in The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Bellevue Literary Review, and The Huffington Post.​

Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life which was named a "Best Book of 2013" by both The Boston Globe and Library Journal and is forthcoming in German and Polish. She’s published fiction and nonfiction in many other venues including the New York Times. In addition to speaking at hospitals, she teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley Extension. Read more about her work at