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Yale Medical and Art Students Collaborate on Literary Magazine

January 31, 2020
by Abigail Roth

Murmurs, the literary magazine of Yale's health professions students, recently released its Winter 2019 issue, with the theme “Self Reflection.” Through poetry, prose, and visual art, students address questions of hope, belonging, medical training, and personal continuity. Murmurs is available as a pdf and in print.

This edition, the fifth since its founding in 2012, marks what its editors hope will be a long-lasting tradition of collaboration between students at the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) and Yale School of Art (YSA), “a partnership that makes palpable the union of art and science we strive to achieve in the health professions.”

The collaboration is reflected in the journal’s leadership. The two content editors are YSM students Natty Doilicho ’22 and Kevin Wang ’22, and the two design editors are YSA students Luiza Dale ’21 and Tuan Pham ’20. Wang states “our whole idea behind the collaboration was to produce a publication that truly, deeply reflected the themes and community we were representing, and we were lucky to be just a couple blocks away from the School of Art, a place where we could find people wholly dedicated to the importance of artistic design.” Wang adds that the collaborations speaks “to the true value of being at a place as multi-dimensional and creative as Yale.”

Dale and Pham designed the journal to enhance its theme. Wang explains, for example, that “the cover photo is in the shape of a capsule, reflecting our hope that this publication will serve almost as a prescription for members of the Yale medical community to take a moment from their busy lives to read and reflect.” They plan to use this design as a continuing motif in future issues.

Moreover, each page of the journal is paired with a blank page, to encourage readers to use it as a journal, adding their own reflections. Additionally, the print edition is small enough to fit into a back pocket or a white coat, because the editors hope that readers will take the opportunity of self-reflection with them.

Print editions, along with Murmurs pens for writing reflections, will be available at YSM Program for Humanities in Medicine events. In an effort to strengthen ties between Yale and the New Haven community, the editors request a minimum donation of five dollars for a print edition, with proceeds going to the local nonprofit LEAP (Leadership, Education & Athletics in Partnership).

The four YSM alumni who founded Murmurs as students, Lorenzo Sewanan '16, Jake Izenberg '13, Christine Sunu '15, and Matt Meizlish '16, hoped “to give all Yale health professional students a space for creativity and expression, drawing on the parallels between the deeply human art of healing and the engagement of senses and sensitivities in the arts,” Sewanan explains. He adds that it originally operated without institutional support, but now has strong support from the YSM Program for Humanities in Medicine, and its director, Professor Anna Reisman, MD. Sewanan thinks each issue “has blossomed into its own unique product with a distinctive style and become a snapshot of contemporary student experiences and their climate.”

While Murmurs traditionally has been published every two years, Wang says “Natty and I are hoping to continue the special partnership we’ve formed with Luiza and Tuan to produce another issue soon.”

Poetry, prose, art, and digital media submissions are welcome from faculty, residents, students, and staff across the Yale health professions community, at any time. The editors encourage people who are interested in submitting work to visit yalemurmurs.squarespace.com, to learn the submission guidelines, or to send questions to: murmurs.ysm@gmail.com.

Submitted by Abigail Roth on January 30, 2020