Tag: death

Christy Duan Christy Duan (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer Emeritus

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Christy Duan is a fourth-year medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a future psychiatrist. She is an award-winning writer who has published in The Detroit Free Press, Quartz, KevinMD.com, Abaton, and Autostraddle. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics. Christy is passionate about social justice and global health. Her work has spanned from the Usambara mountain range of Tanzania to the sprawling metropolis of Hong Kong, and from community HIV interventions to data mining. Read more of her work at http://www.christyduan.com.

Palliative Care: What Makes a Life Worth Living?

The traditional structure of medical education begins with teaching normal anatomy and physiology followed by the various pathologies and treatments. Once students reach the clinical years, we are taught to think in the form of a SOAP note. First, perform a history and physical; then, order the necessary diagnostic tests to obtain your subjective and objective information. Next, form your assessment and plan — what is the problem, and how do you fix it?

The Funeral

Recently, I’ve found myself dwelling on the past. Maybe it’s just a phase, but I hope it’s a sign of maturity, that I’m moving into a new stage of my life. Usually, I find myself thinking about a dreary February day I spent in Toronto. I was there for my grandfather’s funeral. I can’t recall much because I was seven. However, there are few things I remember: heavy, gray clouds smothering the sun, the gloominess and gray scale of a suburban Toronto cemetery, and the hoards of somber and unknown people, all lost to the sadness and reverence of those final moments.

Being There

“In all seriousness,” the attending physician says, “he can wear women’s underwear to minimize the pain.” “Can he really?” “Absolutely,” replies the attending. “If we can’t prescribe any pain medication, then tighter fitting clothing can help keep things from jostling about too much.”

The Value of Empathy in Medicine

Empathy: it’s what supposedly drives us to become physicians, and what we’re told to demonstrate through our extracurricular activities and during our interviews. We yearn for that perfect patient interaction in which we comforted or understood in a way that changed the patient’s perspective on medical care.


A woman once told me that babies cry at the slightest breeze because that is the greatest level of discomfort that they have yet experienced in their short lives. It is a reminder that we can persevere through life’s tribulations. That we grow from adversity. That new challenges make past trials smaller. That this, too, shall pass.

The Legacy of The House of God

The barrage of words that greeted me as I was unceremoniously dropped off with my first medical team during my third-year internal medicine rotation twisted my stomach into a knot. Standing awkwardly with the team on rounds, the harsh fluorescent lighting overhead, I came to realization that I was much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz…


How can doctors-in-training get the support they need to get through difficult personal experiences? Mia, a fourth-year medical student from Pennsylvania who intends to become a hematologist, describes the devastating situation she endured when her best friend died during her second year in medical school. She also comments on the complications of treating people in hematology.

John C.

How can doctors-in-training allow their personal experiences with loss and death to inform how they practice medicine? John, a fourth-year medical student in Philadelphia intending to become a psychiatrist, reflects on how his father’s long-drawn demise from Alzheimer’s influenced him.

Annie Robinson Annie Robinson (52 Posts)

Curator of Inside Stories and in-Training Staff Member

Columbia University

Annie Robinson completed a Master of Science in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University in 2014. She previously studied the healing power of stories as an undergraduate at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Annie works as Narrative Coaching Specialist with Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists, helping individuals in the early stages of eating disorder recovery through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and narrative practices. She is also the Program Officer at Health Story Collaborative, a non-profit that creates forums for individuals to tell their stories of personal health challenges, and curates another oral narratives projects called On the Road to Recovered: Voices from the Eating Disorder Recovery Community. Annie is a coordinator and full-spectrum doula for The Doula Project in New York City, providing compassionate care for women during experiences of abortion, miscarriage, and fetal loss. As a yoga teacher, writer, educator, and co-founder of NYC-based wellness community Pause, Breathe, and Connect, Annie shares her passion for integrative approaches to wellbeing. She is dedicated to creating spaces for people to explore the healing potential of interweaving of stories, spirituality, and somatic experience.

Inside Stories

Inside Stories is an oral narratives project which invites medical students to share their experiences in medical school in the form of brief podcasts published and archived on in-Training. The project aims to provide a means of personal healing, self-realization and empowerment through the sharing and receiving of personal stories, as well as to cultivate community among students in the often isolating medical school environment. The title Inside Stories reflects the project's mission to encourage students to go inside themselves and bring forth things that often go unspoken. It also represents the inside look listeners are granted into the sometimes private, challenging and confusing experiences students may have. Made possible in part by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and FJC.