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Program Director's Note - What are you grateful for? A Thanksgiving Project.

November 25, 2020
by Mark David Siegel

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.

-Gertrude Stein

Hi everyone:

I agree with Gertrude Stein. What’s the point of silent gratitude? On this Thanksgiving, we have so many things to be grateful for. Let’s name them out loud.

I’m grateful for the new coronavirus vaccines, because they herald the end of the epidemic. I’m grateful for the recent triumph of democracy, because it means science, honesty, and justice have a home in America. I’m grateful for the honor of working with brilliant, compassionate colleagues and friends. I’m grateful for the privilege of caring for patients, both in the ICU and clinic. I’m grateful for my family and for everything they do to keep me nourished, physically and spiritually. Finally, I’m grateful just to be here, especially this year, working in a profession I love- learning, teaching, writing, and spending my days with each of you, the people I cherish most.

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, delicious Thanksgiving. If you’re in the hospital and have a moment, come by the MICU to say hi!


PS Program Director’s Notes will be taking this weekend off, returning on December 6!


PPS Thanks to so many of you for sharing what you are most grateful for:

  • I appreciate and am thankful the collaborative nature of Yale that is always present, but was evident during the pandemic when everyone came together to support the IM program. I felt very appreciated volunteering on the COVID floors and am thankful every day to be in such an amazing place to learn and train!

-Chris Traner (Neurology)

  • I am so thankful for outstanding trainees, the camaraderie among faculty, the shared purpose and mission, good health and love.

-Manisha Juthani-Mehta (ID, APD)

  • Thankful I get to come home to my husband Lee and dog Ollie at the end of each day, and that Lee is also an intern so we can support each other in training!

-Ysabel Ilagan-Ying (PGY1)

  • Thankful to be surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues who remain doggedly optimistic and energetic in spite of all that 2020 has thrown at us…and who wear masks because they believe in science.

-Jaimie Meyer (ID)

  • I’m most thankful for a few things- First, for the continued health of my family, including my vivacious 86 year-old grandmother. Second, for a residency program that clearly prioritizes our personal health and wellness above all else. We can’t care for patients if we don’t care for ourselves. And third, for even if there’s no big Thanksgiving, there WILL still be all of the delicious Thanksgiving food!

-Lou Levine (PGY1)

  • I am thankful for my health, beloved family, and friends. But above all, I am grateful for having the capability to offer help and to hold hands of my patients at a time they fight to return to their beloved families and friends. Having the opportunity to fill that vacuum and bring smile on their faces drives me on this thanksgiving.

-Arash Aghajani Nargesi (PGY2)

  • I am so thankful that in the midst of this pandemic, it has really forced me and many of us to refocus on what is TRULY important. I am so grateful for my family for teaching me again and again that love and forgiveness have the greatest power to heal, to change.

-Shin Lin (Geriatrics)

  • I’m thankful for inspiring colleagues, close friends, and a family that gives me hope.

-Vinny Quagliarello (ID, Vice Chair for Education and Academic Affairs)

  • I am grateful for many things, including family, friends, colleagues, joy and happiness.

-Debbie Proctor (GI)

  • So I am thankful for my family and my sister who send me endless texts and attempt to sing the ABCs almost nightly with my nephew. Technology does have some saving graces! See the epic pics below! Who wouldn’t want to work after seeing these! Even better are the videos!

- Cecily Allen (PGY1)

  • I'm writing from home in Tampa - came back to see my family for the first time in a year, with lots of distance, masks, and hand sanitizer.I have so much to be grateful for. Here's just a summary:

I'm so thankful for my family and my husband, who have been my rock both near and far this year. I'm so thankful for the incredible residents in the program who wow me every single day with their kindness, their passion for learning, and their drive to do the best they can for the patients every single day even when times are tough. I'm so grateful for you, Dr. Siegel, and the APDs, who have supported the chiefs and the program unequivocally; we are so so lucky to have such dedicated people to show us what leadership truly looks like.

I think what I am most grateful for, in this moment in time, are my co-chiefs. Every single day I am so amazed by them, and I feel so blessed to be counted among them. I genuinely believe that when my co-chiefs are working together, there is no obstacle that they cannot overcome. I don't know how you chose us- I guess this year we'll see- but somehow our differences complement each other's in a way that just works. I'm so grateful for Jana, the glue of the group, the light of all our lives, whose kindness and brilliance radiate everywhere she goes. I'm so grateful for Rachel, whose passion for advocating not only for her patients but also the residents drives her to work tirelessly on their behalf, and for loving the residents fiercely. I'm so grateful for Chad, whose educational prowess has sparked within us a joy of teaching and a way of developing morning reports that we have never known before, and who's not afraid to challenge the norm to make sure we are doing the best that we can for the residents. I'm grateful for John, our beloved 'ideas guy,' who reminds us to never lose sight of our passions and ideas both in and out of medicine, and is our calming force and voice of reason in tumultuous times. This only child has gained two brothers and two sisters this year, and I will forever be grateful to you for bringing us together.

-Thejal Srikumar (Chief Resident)

  • I am thankful for the number of folks who have made me laugh, laughed with me, and laughed at me (lovingly!) over these past few weeks and months. Despite how daunting the work has seemed at times -- and with a backdrop of daily headlines that would raise one's BP -- I have looked forward to coming to work every day because I know that the people surrounding me will find the light and humor in every occasion. It's been a blast!

-Danish Zaidi (PGY1)

  • Every day, I am thankful for our nurses and house-staff. They were always the brightest and most thoughtful care-givers, but 2020 has highlighted, in gold and silver, their courage, resilience, grace, cheerful spirit and empathy. I’m also thankful for the unflinching support from all our families who have helped us carry the heightened stress, and made us smile through it.

I am immensely grateful for the bountiful Nature: for the beautiful and warm Fall, for the more than usual clear skies so we can still watch the moon and stars in November nights, than we ever did before.

Looking forward to the return of decency and leadership, of health and general gaiety.

-Shaili Gupta (ID, Hospital Medicine)

  • I hope you are well. I am most thankful that myself, my family and friends are healthy. I am also thankful for being a part of a wonderful residency family that make the hard times easier.

-Karo Esin (PGY2)

  • I am thankful to work alongside the sweetest, funniest, smartest co-residents every day.

-Marla Jalbut (PGY2)

  • Here are a few things I am thankful for:
    • Outstandingly supportive senior residents and attendings
    • The program’s commitment to advocating for us and to keeping us safe, well-equipped and well-rested
    • The chance to hang out in the park at the Green Block fall retreat

-Natasha Freeman (PGY1)

  • The health and safety of my family.
  • Time spent outdoors with my husband and dog (Otis stays home when we hike now)
  • The nurturing support of my Yale family.

Jadry Gruen (Chief Resident)

  • I am thankful for the countless blessings that I have been bestowed with. They are too many to count. I feel blessed and grateful.

-Naseema Merchant (Hospital Medicine)

  • I am thankful for the great fortune of working with talented people with so little arrogance.

-Paul Bernstein (General Internal Medicine, APD)

  • This year, in particular, I am immensely thankful for poll workers, local election officials, attorneys general, and volunteers who upheld and continue to uphold this country’s democracy despite the most challenging circumstances. I am thankful for the tireless work of activists in this country who have worked to expand voting rights for decades. I am thankful for the bravery and hard work of the leaders of our national reckoning on racial justice. I am grateful to the scientists who have dedicated this year to making and testing a vaccine. Closer to home, I am thankful for our environmental service workers, technicians, PCAs, BAs, and RTs, who too often get excluded from the thanks given to doctors and nurses but have made an equally profound contribution to saving lives through this pandemic. I am grateful for my patients, especially my Fair Haven patients, who have shown me what resilience looks like through this pandemic and over the past two and a half years. I am grateful for our chief residents who have led with logic and empathy. I am grateful for our program leadership whose commitment to our safety has never wavered. I am grateful to friends and family who have made countless sacrifices this year to stop the spread of the pandemic. And of course, I am forever thankful for my co-residents who always remind me that a sense of humor is the only way through.

-Jemma Benson (PGY3)

  • I am thankful for
    • the fact that my family remains safe and consistently socially distanced
    • the support and camaraderie among my wonderful co-interns and residents
    • the large amount of food we're getting this season, in between inpatient lunches and interview dinners
    • my fluffy, cuddly, warm, and wonderful cat
    • the rainbow of foliage around Yale campus

-Anna Qian (PGY1)

  • I am grateful to work with such a supportive, passionate, bright and engaged group of house staff and faculty. You make my work easy and dare I say, fun!

-Liz Prsic (Palliative Medicine, Co-Firm Chief of Oncology)

  • I am thankful for my new baby nephew. We have not met yet, but he has been my endless source of inspiration and hope during this trying year.

-Neima Briggs (PGY2)

  • I’m thankful for my co-residents and the program leadership, who have stood together and held each other up in these difficult times, and for my fiancée, family, and friends for their support, whether in-person or by phone/FaceTime/Zoom.

-Urs Weber (PGY3)

  • This Thanksgiving, I’m incredibly thankful to be a part of our Yale residency program. With your leadership along with the APDs, chief residents, program staff, and amazing co-residents, I have felt supported and safe during these challenging times and I am grateful for the adaptability and kindness exhibited by all in the program.

-Michael Fuery (PGY2)

  • The health and well-being of my family, colleagues and mentors who are supportive and stimulating, trainees who challenge me to grow, and the ability to do work that has an impact on our local and global community

-Sheela Shenoi (ID)

  • I am thankful for the efforts of all the senior residents who I have worked with since the start of the year. At various points, my seniors have acted as sounding boards for my ideas, managed situations that were unfamiliar to me, or recognized and helped with busy workloads. I have yet to work with a medicine senior who did not handle these various demands with grace and skill.

I am thankful for my co-interns. Whether it for concise and thorough sign-outs, for the anticipatory guidance they've provided for various rotations or for living in New Haven, or for being the best group of colleagues that I could have asked for.

I am thankful for the program leadership. First for giving me a chance to pursue medicine here, but also for listening to my concerns however large or small they were and for being advocates for me (re PPE, duty hours, wellness, etc.).

Finally, I'm thankful for my wife and my family who have supported me so far though the first 6 months and been understanding when I haven't been as supportive of them in return. This includes the days when I didn't see or talk to them as much as I should have or when I was too tired to cook or clean when I get back from work.

In the end, I was always expecting to be well trained at Yale, but I wasn't expecting to be as well supported as I have been.

-Charles Kenworthy (PGY1)

  • I’m so incredibly thankful for my health, living so close to my family, extending our family by one very special puppy, having my wedding without knowing just prior to Covid earlier this year, for this incredible Yale community, and so, so much more.

-Sarah Marone (PGY2)

  • I am thankful for my family and the grace we share with each other in residency. Love you all.

-Curt Perry (PGY3)

  • I am most thankful for being surrounded by friends and family who make this journey worthwhile!

-Shreyak Sharma (PGY1)

  • I am so grateful for the boundless love and support from my parents and brother; for friendships that have weathered time, distance, and challenging circumstances; for quality time in whatever capacity possible with loved ones; for leisure breakfast at home sipping good coffee while reading The New Yorker with Led Zeppelin playing in the background; for authors that weave poems and stories and epics that let our minds travel; for authors that give us the facts straight that let our minds be informed; for being able to move my body; for having found a calling that allows me to heal, comfort, and bear witness to the lives of others; for the beautiful community that I have found in our residency; for giving and receiving love; and for good health.

-Christina Tripsas (PGY3)

  • This year I’m thankful for
    • FaceTime/zoom links that make family thanksgiving dinner possible/unique
    • my mom’s vegetable samosa recipe I’m going to try to master
    • New Haven pizza

-Ramya Kaushik (PGY1)

  • I'm most thankful for my endlessly supportive family and friends who are there for all the highs and the lows.

-Kimberly Glerum (PGY1)

  • I’m grateful for my health. I’m grateful for my family and friends. And I’m grateful for this residency program that continually supports one another.

-Lisa O’Donovan (PGY2)

  • I am most thankful that, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, ten, twenty or even more years later, my family and I will be able to come together to remember this hopefully once-in-a-life-time difficult year of 2020, and thank everyone - our best friends, colleagues, and mentors - who come to keep us strong in this journey together.

-Yiduo Hu (PGY3)

  • This year, I am thankful for everything I have taken for granted in the past. I am thankful to have my health, a job, and access to technology that allows me to connect to family and friends all over the world with the push of a button. I am also thankful for science, vaccines, researchers, public health officials, and a new presidential administration come January. Finally, I am thankful for all the people who have made New Haven feel like home.

-Raksha Madhavan (PGY2)

  • Apart from being thankful for my family, As I reflect this Thanksgiving on how many people we have lost to covid this past year who if not for this pandemic may have still been alive, I am thankful for life as much as I am thankful to be a part of a medicine program that institutes measures to preserve my overall well-being.

-Sabrina Holder (PGY2)

  • In this moment I am so thankful for science and the collaborative process of scientific discovery. The fact that we may have multiple highly-effective vaccine to COVID-19 roughly a year out from when a virus was discovered is unprecedented and shows what a transformative effect science and knowledge can have. This gives me so much hope and offers us a way forward to a new normal.

-Lauren Pischel (ID Fellow)

  • This year I am thankful for my parents and brother who are always there to talk no matter what time I call; Tom my life adventure partner, co-chef, and best friend; my parent’s dog Zoey who is very photogenic and just turned 6 (!); and my residency family (seriously love you guys and am so proud to work with you).

-Natalie Mackow (PGY3)

  • I’m thankful for the health of my family and friends, for Zoom and FaceTime for keeping people close despite the distance, and for our amazing program and it’s endless support that’s gets us all through the rough times!

- María Díaz (PGY3)

  • I am grateful for the health of my friends and family and for my co-residents who I continue to learn from every day.

-Melanie Pascal (PGY3)

  • I’m thankful that we haven’t had brutal winter weather yet and have been able to congregate outdoors (i.e. green block retreat at East Rock Park last week).

-Nadeen Hussain (PGY2)

  • I am most thankful for the health and safety of my family and friends and the selflessness of my colleagues here at Yale in contributing to the health and safety of all!

-Kelly Garcia (PGY1)

  • I am thankful that I wake up and go to a job that doesn’t feel like work. I am thankful that I work in an environment in which I have complete support of my residents, co-interns, and my attendings. And I am thankful that a fellow human being puts his or her health in my hands.

-Peter Natov (PGY1)

  • I am thankful for my Mom and her incredible patience, who spends her days trying to understand and reach out to friends and family in rural Nebraska who won't wear masks. And as always, I'm thankful for you, Dr. Siegel. 🙂

-Becky Osborn (PGY3)

  • This year, I am most thankful for my family and friends, inclusive of the incredible Yale IM community. You have made me feel welcome, safe and always-cared-for from Day 1 of Intern Year despite the burdens, challenges and new responsibilities so many of you have shouldered for the last several months. I am grateful for the joyful moments we continue to find together, the learning we do side-by-side, and the opportunity to participate in the care of patients with all of you.

-Christine Gummerson (PGY1)


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on November 26, 2020