Meet the Associate Director: Daniel Marchalik, MD, MA

Daniel Marchalik

Daniel Marchalik, MD, MA is a physician, urologist and medical humanities scholar. He is the Executive Director of the MedStar Health Center for Wellbeing, Director of the Kidney Stone Program at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Creator and Director of the Literature and Medicine Track at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, as well as the Associate Director of the Georgetown University Medical Humanities Initiative. 

Not only has he done significant research on kidney stones, but he is also an expert on physician wellbeing. In different studies, he and his research team have identified the positive impact that literature has on physician wellbeing, showing how reading fiction decreases risk of burnout.

Dr. Marchalik’s interest in literature began early in his career. As an English major at Rutgers University, he did a senior thesis on illness narratives, which first allowed him to explore the intersection of literature and medicine. During his surgical training in urology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, he further explored that intersection, completing an MA in English at Georgetown University. This work led him to create the Literature and Medicine Track at the Georgetown University School of Medicine–work that was foundational for the launch of the Medical Humanities Initiative.

Dr. Marchalik is the author of a monthly column in the Lancet, where he explores the intersection of literature, medicine, and wellbeing. He also conducts significant studies in physician burnout, published across a variety of leading medical journals.

Featured media, scholarship, and events

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep book cover

“Physicians in the Digital Age”

January 15th, 2022

Dr. Daniel Marchalik and Dr. Edward Melnick look at what Philip K. Dick’s dystopian novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? can teach us about AI & medicine.…

Illustration o the iconic Great Gatsby's eyes wearing gold frame glasses

“The Great Gatsby and the Challenge of Unreliable Narrators”

July 17th, 2021

Dr. Daniel Marchalik and Dr. Matthew W. McCarthy tackle the enduring literary debate on the reliability of Nick Carraway, the narrator of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, to answer the question of how do clinicians balance the importance of believing what patients say with the need to be discerning critics?…

Blindness book cover

“Seeing COVID-19 through José Saramago’s Blindness”

June 20th, 2020

Daniel Marchalik and Dmitriy Petrov propose an approach to the novel Blindness, which would allow us to process the emotional devastation, socioeconomic impacts, and pressures on front-line health-care workers that continue to shape our world.…

Ayurvedic Man. Four young people look at a poster that exhibits an 18th-century Nepali illustrated anatomical painting, which provides a visual interpretation of the organs and vessels of the male body according to classical Ayurveda.

The Hoya Covers the Development of the Medical Humanities Major

November 8th, 2019

The Hoya introduces the future Medical Humanities major, expected to possibly launch in coming years, mentioning the Spring 2020 courses, and Dr. Lakshmi Krishnan and Dr. Daniel Marchalik’s vision for the Medical Humanities at Georgetown University.…

Illustration of a young woman lying on the ground (maybe dead), crowd of people staring at her. Footnote: "A Vampyre, A Vampyre"

“Physicians, Oaths, and Vampires”

September 21st, 2019

Dr. Lakshmi Krishnan and Dr. Daniel Marchalik analyze John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819). They assess the power of oaths, looking at the physicians’ burnout derived from the Hippocratic Oath.…

Portrait of Dr. Paul Gachet by Vincent van Gogh

“Physician Burnout in the Modern Era”

March 2nd, 2019

Dr. Daniel Marchalik looks at physicians’ professional stress through a historical lens. By examining different historical moments —from 19th century accounts of the “distinguished success” to “scandalous misconduct” of medical apprentices, to the 1970s advances in our understanding of burnout—, he considers the effects of the new wave of modernization on physicians.…

Better book cover

“The Return to Literature—Making Doctors Matter in the New Era of Medicine”

December 14th, 2017

As medicine faces rapid changes in our current era, which include the widespread use of artificial intelligence, it is also expected for the nature of physicians’ jobs to change, as well as medical education. Dr. Marchalik explores the innovative approach of the Literature and Medicine Track of the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and suggests ways in which literature could be used to prepare future doctors for the evolving demands of the medical field.…