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Welcome to Darnall Medical Library: Medical Humanism Collection

Providing quality information and services to support the readiness and care of the Uniformed Services and their families.

The Checklist Manifesto


The Empathy Exams

Every Note Played

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

Humble Inquiry

Hidden Figures


Introducing Feminism: A Graphic Guide

Introducing Ethics: A Graphic Guide

Lab Girl

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Last Lecture

The Gene

Medical Apartheid

On Call

Call the Midwife (V2): Shadows of the Workhouse

Call the Midwife (v3): Farewell to the East End

Extreme Measures

What the Eyes Don't See

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear



Kitchen Table Wisdom

The Woman with a Worm in Her Head

The Compassionate Connection

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

Turtles All the Way Down

Brain on Fire


Five Days at Memorial

The Language of Kindness

The Comfort Garden

Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs

When Breath Becomes Air

In Shock

In Stitches

When the Air Hits Your Brain

Slow Medicine

You Can Stop Humming Now

This Side of Doctoring

The Intern Blues


Body of Work

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Living and Dying in Brick City

Black Man in a White Coat

Tears of Salt

The Person You Mean to Be

The Great Believers


Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

Seeing Patients: A Surgeon’s Story of Race and Medical Bias

Every Patient Tells a Story

Book of the Month

Why a Medical Humanism Collection?

The purpose of the Medical Humanism Collection at the Darnall Medical Library at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is to foster empathy, improve bedside manner, decrease burnout, and raise awareness of healthcare bias. We do this by offering books with a variety of perspectives, in the hope that readers will be encouraged to consider variables beyond their worldview when interacting with patients and colleagues. The collection is comprised of popular fiction and nonfiction books, with the majority focused on healthcare topics.

Marchalik D, Rodriguez A, Namath A, Krasnow R, Obara S, Padmore J, Groninger H. The impact of non-medical reading on clinician burnout: a national survey of palliative care providers. Ann Palliat Med. 2019 Sep;8(4):428-435. doi: 10.21037/apm.2019.05.02. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

Blanke ES, Riediger M. Reading thoughts and feelings in other people: Empathic accuracy across adulthood. Prog Brain Res. 2019;247:305-327. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2019.02.002. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Hewitt C, Beech M, Watson O, Kulendrarajah B. Teaching empathy with literature. Med Teach. 2019 Jul;41(7):845. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1529410. Epub 2018 Nov 14.

Kim J. Emotional Labor in the Care Field and Empathy-enhancing Education by Reading Literature: A Brief Review. Iran J Public Health. 2018 Aug;47(8):1084-1089.

Collins KL, Zweber A, Irwin AN. Impact of a fictional reading intervention on empathy development in student pharmacists. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2017 May;9(3):498-503. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2016.12.003. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Tansey S. Exploring Empathy Through the Patient Experience in Literature. J Nurs Educ. 2016 Jul 1;55(7):420. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20160615-13.

Watson EM. The importance of leisure reading to health sciences students: results of a survey. Health Info Libr J. 2016 Mar;33(1):33-48. doi: 10.1111/hir.12129. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

Omigie D. Music and literature: are there shared empathy and predictive mechanisms underlying their affective impact?Front Psychol. 2015 Aug 24;6:1250. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01250. eCollection 2015.

Charon R, Hermann N, Devlin MJ. Close Reading and Creative Writing in Clinical Education: Teaching Attention, Representation, and Affiliation. Acad Med. 2016 Mar;91(3):345-50. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000827.

Davidson JH. Clinical empathy and narrative competence: the relevance of reading talmudic legends as literary fiction. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2015 Apr 29;6(2):e0014. doi: 10.5041/RMMJ.10198. eCollection 2015 Apr.

Timm DF, Woodson D, Jones D. Book discussion course: timely topics for medical students. Med Ref Serv Q. 2014;33(2):147-56. doi: 10.1080/02763869.2014.897513.

Bal PM, Veltkamp M. How does fiction reading influence empathy? An experimental investigation on the role of emotional transportation. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e55341. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055341. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Plake KS. Book club elective to facilitate student learning of the patient experience with chronic disease. Am J Pharm Educ. 2010 Apr 12;74(3):37.

Mathiasen H. Empathy and sympathy: voices from literature. Am J Cardiol. 2006 Jun 15;97(12):1789-90. Epub 2006 Apr 27.

Shapiro J, Morrison E, Boker J. Teaching empathy to first year medical students: evaluation of an elective literature and medicine course. Educ Health (Abingdon). 2004 Mar;17(1):73-84.

Butell SS, O'Donovan P, Taylor JD. Instilling the value of reading literature through student-led book discussion groups. J Nurs Educ. 2004 Jan;43(1):40-4.

Hauser J, Lantos J. Stories of caring and connection: four books on death and dying. Hastings Cent Rep. 2000 Mar-Apr;30(2):44-7.

Charon R. Reading, writing, and doctoring: literature and medicine. Am J Med Sci. 2000 May;319(5):285-91.

Herman J. Reading for empathy. Med Hypotheses. 2000 Feb;54(2):167-8.

FINKELSTEIN SZ. Literature and empathy: an example. Psychiatr Q Suppl. 1957;31(2):239-45.

Archived: Book Club 2022

WRNMMC's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council and the Darnall Medical Library's Medical Humanism (MedHum) Book Club 2022: Black Man in a White Coat 

Facilitators: Sarah Clarke and Maia Magder


The Darnall Medical Library and WRNMMC’s DEI Council are collaborating in an effort to engage staff in conversations related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. This dovetails perfectly with the Darnall Library's MedHum Collection: curated books that explore the experiences of the scientific and medical community with an emphasis on storytelling.

This spring, we will begin hosting a series of discussions surrounding Dr. Damon Tweedy's Black Man in a White Coat. As participants read the book, it is our hope that they will keep an open mind, lean into their discomfort, learn from colleagues, and contribute to discussions in ways that are impactful. Ultimately, we hope that this experience provides participants with a meaningful opportunity to bring out the best in themselves and form connections with colleagues of the WRNMMC community. 

LOCATION: NICoE's Central Park- Building 51, Second Floor

DATES and TIMES: NOTE: The same session will run twice in one day allowing for more participation. To register, click on the time you'd like to attend. 

Sign up, spread the word to interested colleagues, and let's get READING!

NPR Interview with the author:

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency of non-U.S. Government sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. Although the Darnall Medical Library, WRNMMC may or may not use these sites as additional distribution channels for Department of Defense information, it does not exercise editorial control over all of the information that you may find at these locations. Such hyperlinks are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this website.

Darnall Medical Library | Walter Reed NMMC | Building 1, Room 3458 | 8955 Wood Road | Bethesda, MD 20889 | 301-295-1184/85 | Open Monday-Friday, 0700-1630

After-hours access to the library is available to WRNMMC Staff via the CDO at 301-295-4611.