The Care of Strangers

January 5, 2021


Medical care is an undeniably intimate act. Patients are constantly being physically touched by doctors and nurses, and yet this intimacy and touching are between strangers. What makes this connection possible? What does it feel like for each of the individuals involved?

Together we will consider the intimacy of strangers. What does a stranger look like? Sound like? What does it feel like to be asked personal questions by someone you’ve never met? And what is the experience of being responsible for getting to know the other in order to be responsible for their care? Facilitator and author Ellen Michaelson will draw on excerpts from her debut novella, The Care of Strangers, which won the 2019 Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize and was published in the fall of 2020. We will explore these questions and write about our own experience of being part of this unique human connection.

In this workshop participants will be asked to read, write, and discuss. If you require accommodation, please contact NWNMC at

Facilitator Bio

Facilitator Ellen Michaelson, MD is the Vice President of the NWNM Collaborative. She was the founder of HealthMax Primary, a Narrative Medicine practice in NW Portland. She was an NEH Fellow in Medical Humanities and has an MFA in writing. Her debut novel, The Care of Strangers, winner of the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize, was released by Melville House on November 10, 2020. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Portland Monthly, Women in Solitude (SUNY Press), and Literature in Medicine. This is her first book.

Co-Facilitator Alexis Rehrmann, is a board member of the NWNM Collaborative and recently completed her certificate in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Portland Monthly Magazine, and Intima. She works at the newly established Center for Community and Global Health at Lewis & Clark College.

Event Details

January 5, 2021
6:00-8:00 pm


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