shining a light on shame in medicine through
storytelling & research
is an international network of professionals who use creative storytelling and research to advance shame awareness, shame resilience, and shame-sensitive practice in healthcare, with the overarching goal of creating more connected, authentic, and safe healthcare systems for all.
The Shame Space was formed in 2022 by scholars studying shame at the University of Exeter, Duke University, and Duke-NUS Medical School.
We’re changing the way the Medical World thinks about shame.
Shame is a normal and deeply personal emotion that regulates our social behavior and is critical for societal functioning. It can also be pathological, distressing, and chronically experienced, and it is deeply embedded in the culture of medicine.
Despite the ubiquitous nature of shame and its deep roots in healthcare institutions, we rarely talk about it. This drives shame underground where it can drive disengagement, burnout, impaired empathy, and distress among healthcare trainees and providers, with downstream effects on patients.
Our goal with The Shame Space is simple: to create a forum through which we can bring shame to the surface, examine its presence, and build a more resilient culture in healthcare.
STORYSHARING STARTS WITH US.
Our primary goal with The Shame Space is to inspire, guide, and motivate others in healthcare to share their experiences of shame.
So, we decided to do it ourselves first.
In utilizing empiric research and creative media such as graphic medicine, documentary film, and audio storytelling, we hope to convey the essence and impact of shame in healthcare and illuminate a path to shame resilience and shame-sensitive practice among its members and within its environments.
Listen to a 10-episode podcast series by The Nocturnists that deeply explores shame among medical professionals. Co-produced by consortium members Luna Dolezal and Will Bynum, the season features first-person accounts of shame and learning, medical error, litigation, mental illness, and more.
We're thinking and acting globally.
Little empiric focus has been paid to the role of shame in healthcare. Our consortium includes researchers seeking to address this gap by characterizing the nature of shame in medical trainees, exploring shame in the clinical encounter, and examining shame in the medical culture and workplace. By pairing this research with creative mediums such as film, graphic medicine, and audio storytelling, we hope to convey the multi-dimensional nature of shame in healthcare and drive engagement within its institutions.