Zoë Gilbard Zoë Gilbard (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Tufts University School of Medicine

Zoë is an MD/MPH student at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts class of 2025. In 2018, she graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in public health and the history of medicine. She enjoys baking bread, doing yoga, and reading novels in her free time. After graduating medical school, Zoë would like to pursue a career in internal medicine, working at the intersection of medicine and public health to address the impact of the climate crisis on health.

A stranger confides

Waiting in the snow for the 43, Mind focused on the cold. The bitter wind, the bus kneeling Propelled me into the warm blue and yellow interior But the driver told me Wait, I let the elderly off first And I waited, Thanked her for her thoughtfulness, Shared the weather sentiment, And sat.   My husband won’t turn up the heat at home, she said. But I’ve always been cold.   I caught her eye …

Filial Piety

In his 2019 Netflix Special, comedian Ronnie Chieng made some of the most astute (and hilarious) observations on a long held Asian American model minority stereotype. In a short three minute segment, Ronnie delivered over the top impressions of Asian parents’ carnal thirst for ‘money and prestige’ that’s only quenched by having a doctor in the family.  He moved on to quickly highlight the insidious irony of the very same parental figures being just as …

Cancer Care Among Healthcare Students: A Key Towards Building a Sustainable Cancer Care System in Rwanda

Reasons for choosing cancer care students’ intervention When I was a child, I lost my grandpa to cancer. I used to promise him that I would become a healthcare provider and heal him, but unfortunately he passed away when I was in 12th grade. Later, I joined medical school at the University of Rwanda, where I became involved in student-led research, health promotion practices and knowledge measurement. Many university students are interested in public health …

“Taking a History:” Reflections from the Indian Health Services

In elementary school, Indigenous land lived in my imagination as an expansive, beautiful and windy place. Images from storybooks painted pictures of golden plains speckled with horses, an oasis away from my suburban hometown. History is told in stories and these were the stories we were told. In February 2024, I had the privilege of serving at the Indian Health Services (IHS) in Chinle, Arizona. This land belongs to the Navajo Nation, a sovereign state …

Left Right Center

Focus on breathing. Don’t think about how you’d rather be doing anything else on the planet right now. Focus on breathing. Quit reciting the pathophysiology of those diseases you got wrong on last week’s quiz. You’re thinking in circles, stop it. But if I tell myself not to think about something, doesn’t that mean I’m already thinking about it? Clearly my internal dialogue and I need some space from each other. Unfortunately, when you’re on …


Going into my third year of medical school, my goals were simple: survive and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My first clerkship was surgery, and what a chaotic start it was. I often felt like a burden on my team. I knew nothing and asked the exhausted, busy residents a lot of questions. I was a walking ball of anxiety those first four weeks: How many questions was too many? …

The Shadow

I never understood the appeal of people who liked to be “low key” or exist under the radar. As a lifelong social butterfly, the spotlight was always a more natural setting for me. I thrived in environments where I was visible, putting my skills on open display and receiving opportunities to grow, whether through praise and encouragement or constructive feedback.  However, there were, at times, circumstances where I had finite say in my visibility. My …

Loving My Dirty Skin

It started at the age of five. Fair and Lovely — India’s favorite skin-lightening and beautifying cream. I owe this regimen my first memorable medical concern; a rash that angered the skin on my face to scar over redden, burn and peel. I hid indoors for two days, embarrassed for others to see me in public. When the reaction subsided, I remained embarrassed of what stayed — the same ugly dirty brown skin. When I …

Jumping: From Between Two Worlds

I am moving, yet I am going nowhere. I am going nowhere, yet I have come a long way. I do not count how many go by, but each spin demands that I keep moving. With every rotation, I take another step, another leap, one jump on this Earth. These cycles fly by, so much so that I can almost hear them as they whoosh over my head in an instant, making seconds go slow.

Rakan Alshaibi Rakan Alshaibi (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

Rakan Alshaibi is a medical student at FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in Miami, Florida, Class of 2026. In 2022, he graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and cell sciences. He enjoys writing, jump roping, and watching soccer matches in his free time. Rakan is yet to decide on a career in medicine, but is passionate about global surgery and health equity.