Coffee with… Cindy Smalletz

CindySmalletzCoffee With …
… Cindy Smalletz, the new Program Director at The Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center College of Physicians and Surgeons.

By Phillip Mitchell.

So, what does “Program Director” entail?

I am responsible for all of our programs; pedagogic, administrative, and teaching here at the medical school. With my hiring and two others we are restructuring the administration office. The other two are Rachel Rampil, Program Coordinator, and Wanda O’Connell, Administrative Assistant.

What programs do you administer?

Many: Narrative medicine courses at the med school including a seminar for all first years, grant application and support, workshops for clinicians, and narrative medicine rounds. We are also discussing some new initiatives including, possibly, an on-line narrative medicine training program.

Please say more about that.

We would be building a training program from the ground up – develop the curriculum, certify instructors, plan the rollout. There’s a lot to do and we’re not yet sure what all the course would cover and how it would be delivered.

When should alumni contact you?

I’d really like to hear about their activities and achievements so I can to publicize them. Whenever someone is active in the narrative medicine field we want to know about it. Publications can be announced as well as presentations at conferences or new jobs. These are all things I want to get out on social media. I am very interested in keeping connected with graduates and in showing undergrads and potential students what kinds of things alums are up to. Also, if anyone needs to contact the program and isn’t sure who to call, they can contact me at [email protected].

Thanks for that. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I like to be outdoors. I bike to work almost every day. After taking the tram to Penn Station I ride up to the office (8.4 miles). It’s better than the A train! I’m also a runner and try to run a marathon at least once a year. I enjoy hiking in new places. Last year I hiked above the Arctic Circle in Norway.

Academically, I enjoy graphic novels. I regularly attend a graphic novel reading group and I’m very interested in investigating the use of them in addressing social issues.

Anything else?

I enjoy good coffee, good wine – learning new things. I study languages. And in my spare time I’m learning to knit.

Author’s Note: Coffee With… is written based on a phone conversation and not an ethnographic interview. It is intended to allow readers a casual introduction to a person. Questions asked by the author and statements attributed to the subject are not direct quotes but are intended to give the gist of their conversation.


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