My Life, My Story
Every Veteran has a story. Our mission is to help them tell it.
Since 2013, writers for the "My Life, My Story" program have interviewed thousands of Veterans at VA Hospitals across the country. From those interviews, we craft brief life histories that, with the Veteran's permission, become part of their medical record. By reading those stories, VA health care providers can get to know their patients a little better. In addition, Veterans get copies of their story to share with family and friends.
Whole Health has been a sponsor and supporter of the My Life, My Story program since the beginning. My Life, My Story sits at the center of Whole Health’s transformative and patient-centered model of healthcare. Find out more about the Circle of Health model.
Listen to a story
Want to tell your story?
Many VA Medical Centers around the country have a My Life, My Story coordinator who can help get your story documented. Veterans who want to record their story must be enrolled in the VA health care system to participate. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or your questions.
Want to volunteer for the My Life, My Story program?
The My Life, My Story program is active in 75 VA medical facilities across the country. Many of the stories are written by volunteers. Volunteers can come from all ages and backgrounds: you don’t need to be a professional writer, but it helps to have some writing and/or health care experience. Good listening skills are a must. You also need time: an average story (including the interview) takes about four hours to finish.
If you enjoy writing and meeting new people, My Life, My Story could be a great fit for you. Contact the Voluntary Services office at your local VA facility to see if they have the program and whether they are accepting volunteers.
Want to start a program?
If you're interested in starting up My Life, My Story at the VA facility where you work, we've got loads of materials - including toolkits, templates, training videos and more – that we can send your way. And if you're curious about launching the program at your non-VA medical facility, you're not alone. Several institutions have done so around the country, often by getting medical students to do interviews and write stories as part of their education. The Boston VA has led the way with some of those partnerships. You can watch a video about Boston's program or access additional materials.
Contact us at email@example.com to get more information.
A lot has been written about VA's My Life, My Story program. Here are a few examples.
- The New York Times: Learning to Listen to Patients' Stories
- National Public Radio: Storytelling Helps Hospital Staff Discover the Person Within the Patient
- Washington Post: Doctors are taught early about patient histories. Is it time for different questions?
- On Wisconsin Magazine: Story Time
- Wall Street Journal: To Improve Care, Veterans Affairs Asks Patients Their Life Stories (subscription required)
- Channel 3 News, Madison, WI: (video) VA connects with patients through stories of survival