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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Added Workshop Touts Power of Storytelling

screen capture of Liz Neely

Liz Neely discusses the importance of personal narratives in science.

This year’s nonprofit forum featured an additional workshop titled “The Power of Storytelling,” held on July 16; it emphasized the importance of personalizing narratives in research, medicine and patient care. 

Vallabh sits with husband Minikel

Dr. Sonia Vallabh of the Broad Institute, with her husband Dr. Eric Minikel, shares her story during the “The Power of Storytelling” virtual workshop. The two spoke to an NIH audience in December; see

The virtual session included a presentation by Liz Neely, executive director of The Story Collider, a nonprofit organization devoted to telling true, personal stories about science. She described stories as “powerful framing devices that help humans make sense of the world,” and defined them as “believable characters experiencing meaningful events who must cope with the consequences.” 

Neely encouraged nonprofit representatives to add stories to their strategic communication toolkits. “Stories are what help humans connect,” she explained. “We all have stories. I hope you tell them and I hope you tell them well.”

A special highlight during the workshop was a story shared by Dr. Sonia Vallabh, an associate scientist at the Broad Institute, of how a genetic prion disease inspired her and husband Dr. Eric Minikel to switch their career paths to become biomedical research scientists focused on developing preventive drugs for prion disease.  

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