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 writing has appeared The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Wired and other publications 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. 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, death and teenage awkwardness.


Candice kim, workshop co-leader

Candice Kim is a second-year medical student at Stanford School of Medicine. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. and M.S. in Biology. She has a strong interest in both the basic sciences and the arts, working in chromatin remodeling and art conservation as an undergraduate. During college, she practiced studio art in various media and hopes to explore photography as a medical student. A journaler since childhood, she was inspired to pursue creative writing after taking a medical narrative class with Larry Zaroff. She spent the last year learning how to craft personal essays and is excited to share her writing at The Nocturnists’ live storytelling event on identity in medicine. For the past three years, she has worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Stanford Biology Department. Most recently, she helped develop and teach an interdisciplinary, writing-based class on the ethical and social implications of gene editing technologies. She is excited to explore how storytelling can be used to equip physicians with the communication skills they need to provide excellent patient care while also improving their wellbeing.


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Special guest star

Are you interested in writing an op-ed piece for a major newspaper? Want some tips and tricks, tailored for Stanford students in particular, for reaching big audiences in print or online? What are editors looking for and what makes for compelling writing that will captivate them?

Glenn Kramon has been an editor for The New York Times for 30 years. Reporters whom he has supervised and edited have won 10 Pulitzer Prizes, and have been finalists for the Pulitzer 25 times. In 2003, Mr. Kramon became the first recipient of the Gerald Loeb/Lawrence Minard award for outstanding work as an editor. For three years he has taught a course on writing for business, “Winning Writing,’’ at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and was chosen by students as an Honorable Mention for the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award.



What makes for a compelling visual story? Do you take photos or video on your phone but dream of doing something more with them? Want to learn how to create funny, moving and/or beautiful images or short film? This guest will be working with you to create moving visual stories that you'll be able to share after the workshop is over. Your friends will be jealous.

Lauren Tabak is a writer, photographer and filmmaker specializing in documenting arts & culture and has worked with everyone from Keith Richards to Future. She has 10+ years experience creating online content - developing strategy, writing, directing, producing, shooting & editing. Her work has appeared in a number of film festivals as well as Slate, Pitchfork, Spin, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, NPR, Funny or Die and other places one goes to be entertained on the web.  In 2016, Lauren received a NLGJA award for Excellence in Online Journalism. She's an expert at delivering professional content on tight budgets and impossible timelines (with minimal cursing). 

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If you had a meaningful story to tell someone, what would you need to feel safe, to feel brave? Discover how empathic listening and storytelling can challenge—and transform--the way you think about yourself, your work, and your place in the world.

Mimi Lok is an editor and writer whose work builds on over fifteen years of experience in education and the literary arts in the U.K., China, and the U.S. She is the recipient of a Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, an Intersection Changemaker Award, and an Ylvisaker Award for Fiction. She is the Executive Director and Executive Editor of Voice of Witness (VOW), a nonprofit she cofounded with author Dave Eggers and Dr. Lola Vollen that advances human rights by amplifying the voices of people impacted by injustice. Their oral history book series has amplified hundreds of seldom-heard voices in the U.S. and globally, including those of wrongfully convicted Americans, undocumented immigrants, and people in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Colombia. The Voice of Witness education program serves over 20,000 people annually, connecting them with the issues and stories in the book series, and teaching ethics-driven storytelling to educators, writers, journalists, attorneys, and medical practitioners around the world.



Want to find out more about the medical humanities at Stanford? Want to ask a real-life physician writer how she manages a busy anesthesia practice, running an interdisciplinary program at a major medical school and still finds time for her own writing, her family and seeing the world?

Audrey Shafer, MD is Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine / Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System; Director, Stanford Medicine & the Muse Program, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics; co-director, Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration; and co-founder of Pegasus Physician Writers. Her courses include Medical Humanities and the Arts. Medicine and the Muse is hosting a yearlong initiative, Frankenstein@200, including film, courses and events. She is the author of The Mailbox, a children’s novel on posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans. Her poetry on anesthesia, health humanities and family life has been published in journals and anthologies and heard on NPR.



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Want to be a better oral storyteller? What makes for great delivery and what do you have to know to captivate a live audience (of one or one thousand)?

Haley Howle is a senior producer for Pop Up Magazine, a live magazine the New York Times has called "a sensation." As a producer, she works with writers, photographers, filmmakers, radio producers and artists to turn their stories into live, on-stage experiences. She has worked with everyone from Kumail Nanjiani to Jon Ronson to Shawn Colvin. Previously, she directed KUT Austin’s statewide news show, Texas Standard. She also launched the Austin Music Map and the annual MAPJAM festival and was a producer for the award-winning music journalism program Texas Music Matters




How do you find time for creative projects while holding down a full time job in another field? What does that balance look like and how can you maintain it? Also, what do you need to know to pursue stories far from home? 

Joshua Maricich is a writer, photographer and fourth-generation fisherman. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Amman, Jordan, and lived in Yemen for four years serving as the managing editor of Yemen Today, the country's largest English language magazine. He's currently at work on a novel set in a historic salmon cannery in remote Alaska and a nonfiction book about Old Sana'a, one of the world's longest continuously inhabited cities. When he isn't writing, he's spearheading a project to improve the traceability of wild salmon in processing plants across Alaska--and will be bringing us wild-caught salmon to eat during the workshop! He will also be taking photos over the course of the weekend.

Past instructors have included Rebecca Skloot, 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 others; Jordan Bass, executive editor of McSweeney's Publishing, where he's helped to edit and design dozens of books, both fiction and nonfiction, since 2004; Annie Brown, reporter and radio producer at The New York Times, who's made stories for California Sunday Magazine99% Invisible, Al Jazeera's AJ+ and other shows; and David Prete, actor, director, fiction writer, and public speaking coach who has trained best-selling authors in the art of public reading and speaking, and has taught writing, acting, and directing at numerous universities, training centers, prisons, and in private classes nationwide.