Resources for publication: Medical Humanities

Happy New Year!

We begin this year on the Humanities blog with a list, of course. But first, a little background.

My first narrative, non-fiction piece was written in the middle of the night after a long day of work. I’d just seen a young man suffering from terminal cancer during a Palliative Care consultation and was haunted by the experience. After a few hours of writing, I uploaded my draft to the author’s submission page at the Annals of Internal Medicine, and clicked send.

I was lucky, very lucky. It was accepted, which set the bar artificially low for me. (Click here to read an excerpt.) In the coming years, I submitted other pieces of non-fiction and poetry, racking up a nice list of rejections (the necessary accoutrements for any writer!). After a lot of work (and work shopping via the Seven Doctors Project), I did manage to publish in several other journals.

There exists a wealth of journals out there willing to review your creative work, and hopefully publish it. The following is a list of places to consider, if you want to submit narrative non-fiction, humanities-related fiction, poetry, artwork and photography.

Annals of Internal Medicine: publishes narrative non-fiction pieces from the physician’s perspective (“On Being A Doctor”) and patient (“On Being A Patient”). Also accepts photography for the cover (“Personae”), history of medicine pieces, and poetry.

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association): “A Piece of My Mind” is a feature for medical vignettes. They also publish poetry as well.

New England Journal Of Medicine: In the “Perspective” section, NEJM publishes pieces on the intersection of medicine and society. “Occasional Notes” are for more personal pieces of writing.  They also publish photographs throughout the journal.

JGIM(Journal of General Internal Medicine): In their “Materia Medica” section, JGIM publishes personal essays, short stories, and poetry. “Text and Context” are for excerpts from literature/poetry accompanied by an essay.

CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal): CMAJ has a robust online and print Humanities section. They accept fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, photography, and illustrations.

Hektoen International: HI is an online humanities journal. They publish illustrations, photography, narrative fiction and non-fiction, essays and scholarly articles.

Hospital Drive: University of Virginia journal of humanities and literature. They accept poetry, prose, artwork and audiofile submissions.

Bellevue Literary Review: Publishes prose and poetry related to the theme of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body.

Lancet: Holds the annual Wakely Prize for an essay on the topic of health and healthcare. Submissions are usually due by October.

The Abaton: This Des Moines University online journal accepts poetry, prose, essays, photography and artwork. Also holds the annual Selzer Prize.

The Examined Life: A Literary Journal of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine: They accept fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

American Journal of Nursing: Publishes works of narrative non-fiction, essays, photography and artwork. Though it doesn’t say on the submission guidelines, I believe they accept poetry as well.

Yale Journal for the Humanities in Medicine: Accepts poetry, prose and book reviews, see submission guidelines.

Touch-The Journal of Healing: Accepts poetry, prose, artwork/graphics related to health, healing, spirituality and gender issues. See submission guidelines.

Medical Humanities (BMJ): Accepts short pieces of poetry and prose, as well as book film and art reviews to round out their academic humanities journal.

I’m sure there are many other places to submit, so feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

Have a wonderful (and creative) New Year!

Lydia Kang, MD
Dr. Kang has been writing since 2006. Her narrative medical essays and poetry have been published in JAMA, JGIM, the Annals of Internal Medicine, CMAJ, and upcoming in Hektoen International. Her first novel, a light young adult science fiction story, will be published in 2013 by Dial/Penguin.




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