Pamela Schaff, MD, PhD

Professor of Clinical Medical Education, and Family Medicine, and Pediatrics (Educational Scholar)

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An associate professor of Medical Education, Family Medicine and Pediatrics (Educational Scholar), Dr. Schaff directs the Keck School of Medicine’s Humanities, Ethics, Art, and Law (HEAL) Program and the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine Program. She maintains her clinical pediatric practice in the department of Family Medicine. Dr. Schaff previously served as director of the Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) Program, and as associate dean for curriculum for the Keck School of Medicine. She was a member of the Association of American Medical College (AAMC) Humanities and Arts Integration Committee, charged with determining and advancing the role of the humanities and arts in medical education and physician development.

Dr. Schaff received her PhD in literature and creative writing at USC. In addition to teaching in the MS in Narrative Medicine Program, she designs curriculum that integrates arts and humanities instruction in courses, clerkships, and electives through all four years of the medical school curriculum. She is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring. Her current areas of investigation include professional identity formation, narrative medicine, and the role of the arts and humanities in medical education. She has begun work on a book-project based on her dissertation, titled Reading the Clinic: A Narrative Path to Health.


  • Asperger’s syndrome – about time to rename it? Pediatr Res. 2024 Feb; 95(3):582-584.. View in PubMed
  • Pediatrics and Narrative Medicine Pediatr Res. 2022 Oct; 92(4):910-911. . View in PubMed
  • A Value-Added Health Systems Science Intervention Based on My Life, My Story for Patients Living with HIV and Medical Students: Translating Narrative Medicine from Classroom to Clinic J Med Humanit. 2021 Dec; 42(4):659-678. . View in PubMed
  • Patient Co-Participation in Narrative Medicine Curricula as a Means of Engaging Patients as Partners in Healthcare: A Pilot Study Involving Medical Students and Patients Living with HIV J Med Humanit. 2021 Dec; 42(4):641-657. . View in PubMed
  • The impact of a new curriculum on medical students’ interest in and knowledge of health systems science Healthc (Amst). 2020 Jun; 8(2):100409. . View in PubMed
  • More on How USMLE Step 1 Scores Are Challenging Academic Medicine Acad Med. 2016 05; 91(5):609-10. . View in PubMed
  • “Being the best we can be”: medical students’ reflections on physician responsibility in the social media era Acad Med. 2013 Feb; 88(2):240-5. . View in PubMed
  • From contemporary art to core clinical skills: observation, interpretation, and meaning-making in a complex environment Acad Med. 2011 Oct; 86(10):1272-6. . View in PubMed
  • The development of a comprehensive school-wide simulation-based procedural skills curriculum for medical students J Surg Educ. 2010 Sep-Oct; 67(5):309-15. . View in PubMed
  • Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California Acad Med. 2010 Sep; 85(9 Suppl):S105-10. . View in PubMed
  • Shaping professionalism in pre-clinical medical students: Professionalism and the practice of medicine Med Teach. 2009 Jul; 31(7):e295-302. . View in PubMed
  • The limits of narrative and culture: reflections on Lorrie Moore’s “People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk” J Med Humanit. 2006; 27(1):1-17. . View in PubMed
  • Reading, writing, and doctoring–a literary introduction to clinical medicine group Fam Med. 2001 Mar; 33(3):161-3. . View in PubMed