Health Affairs celebrates the 10th anniversary of publishing first-person Narrative Matters essays. Since its conception, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the journal’s founding editor, John Iglehart, wrote in the July/August 1999 issue that “the voices of patients, their families, and their caregivers have often gotten lost in the shuffle” of America’s medical system. He believed this platform would be a testament to the power of stories and storytelling, and their role in shaping health policy.
Over the past decade, nearly 150 Narrative Matters essays have been published. Excerpts from essays that appeared originally in the Narrative Matters section of the journal are now being recorded for National Public Radio (NPR). The authors are often invited to read excerpts of their essays on the air, with NPR’s Web site then linking back to the full-length essays on the Health Affairs Web site.
In 2009, with additional funding from the Kellogg Foundation, author-read podcasts of the Narrative Matters essays were created and podcasts will be posted to the Web site; soon they will also be accessible from a division of the popular iTunes site called iTunes U (for University).