About Richard Barager
Richard R. Barager, MD, FACP, is a nephrologist in private practice in San Diego’s North County. Dr. Barager, who has twice received a San Diego County Medical Society “Top Doctor” award for distinguished care in his specialty, is a champion of the healing power of literature, and from time to time “prescribes” specific novels to receptive patients and families to help them cope with their burden of illness.
He has engaged the medical community at large in this endeavor via The Literary Doctor, a blog category devoted to the use of literary fiction to help patients and physicians alike explore the meaning of human illness in a way scientific method cannot. A disease can be understood through the process of empiric research and publication; understanding illness—the fully expressed human response to disease, manifested by its emotional, spiritual, financial, as well as physical aspects—requires a different paradigm. Illness is best understood in story form, i.e. selected works of literary fiction.
Dr. Barager has long believed the two finest callings in life are doctor and writer, the one ministering to the human condition, the other illuminating it, both—when performed with compassion and knowledge—capable of transforming it. His novel Altamont Augie, a tale of the late 1960s, is due for publication in June, 2011.
Dr. Barager earned BA and MD degrees at the University of Minnesota, and did postgraduate training at Emory University in Atlanta and the University of California at San Diego. He has published a chapter in a medical textbook, is past chief of staff at a large district hospital, and is fluent in Spanish, in order to better serve his area’s substantial Hispanic population.