Arlene Katz, Ph.D.

Dept. of Social Medicine
Harvard Medical School
227 Concord Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: 617-868-2132

Dr. Arlene M. Katz, is an Instructor in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, consultant in qualitative/ethnographic research at the Center for Multicultural Research at Cambridge Health Alliance, as well as a consultant in dialogic processes in healthcare, organizations and therapy. As the former Director of the Community Councils Project at the Cambridge Health Alliance, she collaborated with community elders and professionals to develop a unique program to address ageism by creating a ‘Council of Elders’ to help teach residents and nurse practitioners about the lived experience of aging (Katz, Conant, et al., 2000). This formed part of a series of community-based participatory ethnographic research projects involving the development of ‘resourceful communities’ of those involved in clinical practice, training and care, in part to address issues of inequality and access to care, and to create among healthcare professionals a greater sense of responsiveness and answerability to the needs of the community.

Her work has emphasized the importance of hearing the ‘voice’ of the patient and the community in care, training and research. These dialogic studies and projects have resulted in several papers and reports on the “social poetics” approach to the understanding and elaboration of diagnostic practices in primary care and in the process of mentorship (Katz and Shotter, 1996; Shotter and Katz, 1996; Katz, Siegel and Rappo, 1996). Other studies and projects involving poetic dialogic process include the changing face of healthcare (Katz, 1998) the experience of research ethics in a Children’s hospital (Katz and Fox, 2004) and the experience of minority women in maternal and infant health (in press).

Her research interests include dialogic processes in health care, social and cultural responses to illness and care in immigrant populations, and a multi-voiced approach to the patient-doctor relationship as well as a multi-voiced approach to organizational life. Dr. Katz has authored many articles on relationship-centered, collaborative methods of care, research and training, and has lectured on these subjects nationally and internationally.

She is also a published poet and photographer and has created video documentaries related to her dialogical work.