David Watts first trained as a classical musician, then as a medical doctor. During the 1980s he was the on-camera medical host for PBS, Lifetime Network and local Fox news. His commentaries on the practice of medicine currently air on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. His television one-hour special, Powerful Words: Poetry and the Art of Healing, will premiere later this year.
He is founder/director of Writing the Medical Experience, a conference which gathers writers, doctors and patients to write and discuss the healing experience under the leadership of some of the best writers in the field. Watts has published three books of poetry: Making, Taking the History and Blessing. His book of stories about the practice of medicine, Bedside Manners, is due out this fall.
To promote the humanities on a health sciences campus, Watts created Poets on Parnassus, an organization that provides readings, workshops and cross-genre events for the University of California at San Francisco campus community. His current research projects study how the humanities benefit the field of medicine, including poetry’s effect upon anxiety, deep writing and tolerance of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients, humanities training and compassion in medical professionals and vivid imagining as a stress reducer for surgical procedures.
Watts lives with his wife and two sons in Mill Valley, California.