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"People who share their lives in ways that must be recognized"

A year ago, for a book called The Art of Caring, three medical students wrote about a bus driver, a kitchen worker, and a custodian at the School of Medicine, people who labor behind the scenes, yet contribute to the quality of life that faculty and students enjoy. This celebration of the medical school’s unsung heroes continued in February as seven first-year students described the lives of security guards, a custodian, a newspaper vendor, an office worker, and a kitchen worker.

At a reading sponsored by the Humanities in Medicine Program in the Cohen Auditorium at the Child Study Center the students read from their works, which were published again in a booklet. As in last year’s inaugural program, Alita Anderson, M.D. ’01, guided the students—Mehida Alexandre, Julie Berk-Krauss, Jessica Chen, Jennie Choe Angela Gauthier, Jessica Greenberg, and Lucy Liu—through the writing process. Every Thursday evening for two months the students met via videoconference with Anderson, who lives in Atlanta. While a medical student, Anderson published a collection of oral histories, On the Other Side: African Americans Tell of Healing.

“They came in with a very clear intention with regards to the work they wanted to do,” Anderson said of the students. “They wanted to honor the people who are in the pages of this book. They wanted to celebrate their lives.”

The people they wrote about, said Anderson, are “people we pass by every day who share their lives, share their time, share their talents with this community in so many ways that must be recognized. Because of the work that they do, and the places that they sit, they have perspectives—on caring, on medical training, on this community as a whole—that are invaluable. Why not have the students learn from them? It’s a phenomenal and very important work that was born from this vision.”

Nancy R. Angoff, M.P.H. ’81, M.D. ’90, HS ’93, associate dean for student affairs, Forrester A. Lee Jr., M.D. ’79, associate dean for multicultural affairs, and Thomas P. Duffy, M.D., professor of internal medicine (hematology), launched the program last year.

Read The Art of Caring here.