The Interstitium

live stories from humans in healthcare


Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative presents the Interstitium: a storytelling evening that invites our community to share stories of how health and illness shape the way we live. Onstage. With a mic. Live. 

Interstitium [int-ər-ˈstish-ē-əm] • noun the space between two things that both joins and separates them

We created “The Interstitium” to contemplate the stories happening in these “in between spaces” of our lives.  What stories aren’t being told? How can we learn from them?

“The Interstitium” celebrates our lived experience of health and healthcare—it’s so much more than a diagnosis or a lab result. Each and every person’s relationship to their body lives at the intersection of health, power, and identity. We want to make that intersection a place where people feel heard and respected.

The stories we share are funny, serious, heartfelt, heartbreaking, lyrical, or absurd.  Each storyteller illuminates hidden moments in health and illness that can bring us together in shared humanity.

What’s Next: Seattle

April 25, 2021

Tales from the Time of COVID

Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative’s fifth Seattle storytelling event is sold out! While space and COVID precautions keep us from offering more tickets, but we wanted to share news of the gathering here. This is the first live event we've held since COVID began. The event will be outside, in the afternoon, in the patio of the lovely Shaffer Bailey Mansion Attendees and storytellers are asked to be masked, distanced, and vaccinated. Stories might be funny, serious, heartfelt, absurd, lyrical, any range is welcome. Storytellers can express themselves in narrative, poem, song, or any other genre. We are gathering together to build a narrative medicine community. This event will not be recorded. This event will not be judged.

Facilitator Bio

Stephanie Cooper, M.D.
Stephanie Cooper believes that stories are the currency of human experience. Before she was a doctor, she was a journalist. As a medical student, she recognized that stories were integral to maintaining the very humanity that impelled students to the field of medicine. As a clinician, she has utilized process writing to teach medical students techniques to break bad news and facilitated Narrative Medicine workshops at University of Washington for both residents and faculty members. Stephanie attended the Masters in Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University. She is currently an Emergency Medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente in Seattle, Washington, and a mother of two vibrant 7-year old boys who love a good story.

Elizabeth Magassy Dorn, M.D.
Elizabeth Magassy Dorn, an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Washington believes in the fundamental role of art to keep us connected to ourselves and others, and to bridge the gap of communication not expressed through normal channels of daily human discourse. A lifelong visual artist, sometime poetry writer, and active practitioner in local theater community, she recently wrote and performed 2 solo performance pieces depicting her journey through the medical world.

Event Details

April 25, 2021
3:00-5:00 pm
Shafer Baillie Mansion Bed & Breakfast
907 14th Avenue East Outdoor Patio Seattle, WA 98112


What’s Next: Online

May 26, 2021

"I'm Fine" and Other Lies from the Worst Year Ever

The pandemic has changed all of us. For some, permanently. For many, in unique and unexpected ways. This "Interstitium" performance is an homage to the ways COVID has redefined life and what each of us is living for. We are actively looking for submissions from individuals with a COVID story to tell as part of the performance cast. No story is too small or mundane to share. If you experienced it, we want to hear it. We welcome ALL voices but especially aim to lift up the stories of people of color and others whose stories are heard less often in US healthcare.

No prior performance is experience is necessary - our team will work with you to prepare your story before the event! Got a story idea? Pitch us below!

Facilitator Bio

Ben Colburn is a family medicine physician at OHSU and the founder of “The Interstitium,” a narrative medicine performance series designed to raise up underrepresented voices in healthcare dialogues and create community through shared experience. His clinical passions are end of life care, LGBTQ+ health, and Latinx health. His personal interests are mushroom hunting, taking on craft projects he’s not qualified to attempt, and fawning over his COVID kittens Milo and Timothy Chalameow.

Event Details

May 26, 2021
7:00-9:00 pm
Link will be shared at point of ticket purchase.

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Pitch Your Story

If you’ve got a story to tell, we want to hear from you! Patients, professionals, clinicians, caregivers, writers, artists—and the many of us whose lives span more than one category—all are welcome.

Calling All Storytellers! Do you have a COVID tale to tell?

We are thrilled to present this special edition of “The Interstitium” in partnership with the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) to be broadcast live on the evening of Wednesday, May 26th and available to stream remotely to keep our community safe.

We are actively looking for submissions from individuals with a COVID story to tell as part of the performance cast. We welcome ALL voices but especially aim to lift up the stories of people of color and others whose stories are heard less often. No story is too small or mundane to share: tell us about your healthcare experiences in the COVID era, your newfound love of homemade sourdough, your beloved new COVID pet, your unconventional home gym, or any other experience that has personal meaning to you! If you experienced it, we want to hear it. No prior performance is experience is necessary - our team will work with you to prepare your story before the event! To submit your story, write a 1-2 paragraph summary of what you want to share and why and pitch us below!

¡Llamando a Todos Los Cuentadores! ¿Tiene una historia de COVID que contar?  

Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative (NWNMC) y Metropolitan Alliance for Common  Good (MACG) están encantados de presentar “El Intersticio,” una noche de historias de nuestra comunidad sobre la vida durante la pandemia de COVID.  “El Intersticio” es un espacio para que nuestra comunidad puede compartir las historias  sobre las relaciones personales que todos tenemos con la salud, pero que rara vez  podemos compartir públicamente y relacionarse.  

Esta edición especial de “El Intersticio" se transmitirá en vivo la noche del miércoles 26 de mayo y estará disponible para transmitir de forma remota para mantener a nuestra comunidad  segura.  

Buscamos personas para contar sus historias de COVID con el elenco de esta actuación. Damos la bienvenida a TODAS las voces pero sobre todo apuntan  a realzar las historias de personas de color y otros cuyas historias se escuchan con menos frecuencia. Ninguna historia es demasiado pequeña o mundana para compartir: cuéntenos sobre sus aventuras médicas en la  era COVID, su nuevo amor por la masa madre casera, su querida nueva  mascota COVID, su gimnasio en casa poco convencional o cualquier otra  experiencia que tenga un significado personal para usted. Si lo experimentó, queremos escucharlo!  

No se necesita experiencia previa, nuestro equipo trabajará con usted para preparar su historia antes del evento. Para someter su historia, escriba un resumen de 1-2 párrafos de lo que quiere compartir y por qué y presenta tu historia a continuación.

The Interstitium began with a bang in the spring of 2019.

Check out our past shows!

Events Calendar

April 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

Let us know about your upcoming event—or ask about bringing NWNMC to your community!