About Your Teachers

Medicine and the Muse Storytelling Camp at Soul Food Farm is an opportunity for you to hang out with some of the top science and medicine communicators working today. Workshop leaders have been selected for their know-how and experience but also their generosity, kindness and interest in supporting student work.

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Laurel braitman, Workshop co-leader & Instructor

Laurel Braitman PhD is a New York Times bestselling author, the Writer-in-Residence at Medicine & the Muse at the Stanford School of Medicine, and a Contributing Writer for Pop Up Magazine.  Her latest TED talk has been watched by over a million people and she regularly speaks to packed audiences around the world about issues relating science, medicine and health. She received her PhD in History, Anthropology and Science, Technology & Society from MIT and is a Senior TED Fellow. Her last book,Animal Madness (Simon & Schuster 2015) was a NYT bestseller, a science pick of the year everywhere from Amazon to Science Friday and has been translated into seven languages. Her work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Good Morning America, and Al Jazeera. Her writing has appeared The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Wired and other publications. She's taught popular interdisciplinary courses at Harvard, MIT Smith College and elsewhere and is passionate about collaborating with musicians, physicians, filmmakers, artists and scientists. Laurel's next book (Simon & Schuster, forthcoming) is about medicine, family and how we die. She lives in Richmond CA with her dog Cedar, a fruit-bat/Akita mix who's not at all impressed by her work.


ruth marks, workshop co-leader

Ruth Marks is a second year medical student at Stanford University Medical School. Lifelong actor and performer, she graduated from Stanford with double majors in French and Human Biology and a minor in Theater and Performance Studies. She is an editor of online medical humanities journal, The Intima. Prior to medical school, she spent two years as a Course Associate in the Human Biology Program at Stanford. During her first year of medical school, she attended ethics consultation meetings at Stanford Hospital where she saw how central narrative is to health care delivery. The stories she heard in these meetings prompted her first foray into creative writing. She took humanities and storytelling courses with Audrey Shafer, Jonah Willihnganz, and Fred Luskin and created opportunities for fellow medical students to share their stories. Avid hiker, cook, and dialect enthusiast, she is interested in exploring how narrative shapes the practice and study of medicine. 

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Special guest star

Are you interested in writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or children's literature? How about running a magazine or your own publishing empire one day? Want to learn from an expert what it takes to get your story into the world?

Jordan Bass is the executive editor of McSweeney's Publishing, where he's helped to edit and design dozens of books, both fiction and nonfiction, since 2004.  He can answer your questions about writing, editing, and pretty much anything else related to the writing/publishing life. Also, he's very funny. He never would have written that himself.



Want to get some quality time around the campfire with one of the most successful writers of science and medicine working today? Who also happens to be really, really nice?

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, translated into more than 25 languages and recipient of dozens of national awards. She has been featured on numerous television shows, including CBS Sunday Morning, The Colbert Report, Fox Business News and othersHer award winning science writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications. This summer The Immortal Life is being made into an HBO movie starring Oprah Winfrey as Deborah Lacks.

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to get a story on a major radio show or podcast? Or what it means be an excellent interview subject or interviewee? Have you considered dropping out of medical school (Shhh....) and becoming a journalist? 

Annie Brown is a reporter and radio producer. She's made stories for California Sunday Magazine, the 99% Invisible, Al Jazeera's AJ+ and others. She produces an audio series called Phone Stories the from Pop Up Magazine and produced KQED's first podcast, The Leap. Annie was once a medical student just like you, with a dream of making a radio documentary. She took time off, fell in love with journalism and never went back.