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Introduction to Creative Writing: Writing about Health and Medicine

ENGL 010.303
Thursday 1:30-4:30

Anyone who follows health and medical news knows the problem: today's breaking headlines are flipped on their head tomorrow. One week, we’re told meat is a fundamental component of a heart-healthy diet; the next, we’re told it causes cancer and should be avoided. Health reporting ceases to be a source of information and instead leads to widespread confusion, frustration, and even apathy. Journalists aren’t necessarily to blame for this problem, but when they report on each new study without critically analyzing the scientific research behind it, today’s health writers inadvertently add to misinformation and public confusion.


In this creative writing workshop, we’ll focus on the fundamentals of good science journalism, with an emphasis on how to evaluate the strength of published research and integrate it into our own writing for a broad audience. This course is designed both for students who have little background in science and for science and pre-med students who want to become stronger writers. Through a series of readings, writing activities, and workshops, we will explore the art of navigating health and medical research, crafting our own original pieces of reporting. Class guests will include prominent journalists, scientists, and economists.