Fall 2019 Story Slam - Experiencing the Unexpected
Reflections on our sixth Story Slam, held on October 16, 2019.
We had 11 storytellers, and what all had in common was their courage to stand on that stage, overcome their apprehensions, and share deeply personal stories about their lives in medicine, their discoveries and disappointments, their humorous moments and heartbreaking ones. A few wept on stage, struggling to get through their stories, and audience support carried them to the finish. What rang true throughout was the recognition that medicine can be at times impossibly hard and incomparably rewarding — but is always, in the end, as nights like this reminded us, deeply human.
While the event is a celebration of stories, and not a competition, we gave out modest prizes and had a three way tie for first: Jen Eurich, M2, for her story, “Front Row Seat”, about her first time seeing a patient die in the trauma bay and what she learned about her own humanity; Rachael Smith, M2, for her story, “Post-Operation Weight Chart”, about the death of her father and lessons she hopes will make her a better doctor; and Christopher Goodwin, MD, for his poignant and funny story, “A Guy and his Dog”, about an invaluable lesson he learned from a homeless man and his faithful, filthy, four-legged best friend.
The full video is embedded below, and here is a link to printed versions of three of the stories:
- A Guy and His Dog, Christopher Goodwin
- Post-Operation Weight Chart, Rachael Smith
- What About Jessie?, Pam Vasquez
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Michael Vitez, winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer, is the director of narrative medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org