UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; School of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Medical Education | Medical Humanities | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies


Background: Burnout is a major issue amongst medical students and professionals that demands a solution. Mindfulness has been shown to decrease burnout. Storytelling, as a form of mindfulness, leads to reflection. Few publications have studied the effect of storytelling on student and clinician wellness. To address wellness within their medical community and utilize the underexplored method of narrative medicine as a curricular enhancement, the authors designed and implemented a novel storytelling platform, Med Moth, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and associated hospital (UMass Memorial Medical Center).

Methods: Members of the community were invited to storytelling events to listen to and share stories about formative medical experiences. Four events were held between 2017 and 2018. After each event, participants received a survey inquiring how attendance benefitted them personally and professionally.

Results: Clinicians, students, and faculty comprised the 104 first-time attendees surveyed. Med Moth produced a strong perceived benefit to surrogate measures including emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, defining characteristics of burnout, and professional development. Among these three measures, 66% of participants rated 4-5 (out of 5). Nearly all attendees (96%) rated 4-5 for the overall experience. Lastly, medical students reported a higher benefit regarding professional development than clinicians (p=0.002).

Conclusions: This pilot study of a novel storytelling platform demonstrates positive personal and professional development outcomes, both during and after medical school training. Medical schools, residency programs, and medical institutions should strongly consider the implementation of such a wellness platform to build resiliency and to mitigate burnout through reflection.


Education and/or Curriculum Development, Promoting Professional Wellness, Medical Humanities, Narrative/Reflective Writing, Professional Burnout, Medical Education, Mindfulness, Medical students, Curriculum, Health promotion

Rights and Permissions

Copyright (c) 2020 Michelle Silver, Sarah Ohnigian, Hugh Silk, Michael Ennis, Judith Savageau. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

DOI of Published Version



Silver M, Ohnigian S, Silk H, Ennis M, Savageau J. Med Moth: A Storytelling Platform for Improving Wellness in Medical Education. Int J Med Stud. 2022Jan.6;9(4):300-3. doi: 10.5195/ijms.2021.1070.Available from:

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Journal of Medical Students


This research was conducted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School prior to the graduation of first and second authors, who are now listed with their current institutional affiliations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.