The Medicine & the Muse Virtual Symposium
May 28, 2020

We are proud to announce this year’s annual Medicine & the Muse Symposium, a celebration of the many artistic, literary, musical and other creative scholarly talents at the Stanford School of Medicine. In deference to physical distancing, this symposium will take place virtually, in combination with our Stuck@Home series!

This year, Symposium features keynote, filmmaker Ken Browne who will premier his documentary film, "Why Doctors Write: Finding Humanity in Medicine."

Thursday, May 28, 2020
5:30-7:30PM (PDT)

This event has passed.

Click here to view a highlight video. Click here to watch the full program. 

Gallery of student creative and scholarly work

Alexis Doyle

Disability, Medicine, and Quarantine: An Interview with Paqui Toscano

Alexis (Lexi) Doyle is a first year medical student with interests in women's health, writing, and policy. In her free time, she loves being outdoors and spending time with animals.

Paqui Toscano is a disability scholar and advocate who has inspired me to think more critically about disability throughout our friendship. These reflections have taken on more serious form as I have entered medical school, as his experiences within medical systems expose vulnerabilities in our systems of care (and in larger society) for those living with chronic disability or chronic illness. In this conversation, Paqui's insights on disability and his experience in medical contexts are particularly relevant for medical students like me and others involved in the healthcare field. Additionally, his perspectives on having life ‘interrupted’ and dramatically changed due to medical events that have occurred throughout his life are important to share in this current moment of pandemic and our radically altered ‘normal.’ His perspectives not only expose the relative able-bodied privilege that many of us experience on a daily basis, but also speak to a larger body of lived experiences of those for whom interruption and changing of their ‘normal’ is something they have had to navigate quite regularly due to their journeys in their bodies and within the medical system. While tailored toward a medical audience, I believe that Paqui's experiences and knowledge are remarkable and relevant to all. I hope you learn as much from this conversation as I did. 

"To the bursting lavender outside my windowsill
I wonder what changed, winter solstice
In my abdomen without me knowing"

Vivian Ho

Vivian Ho

"Room H132," "On UTIs," and "The Moment of Death, as foretold by our Anatomy Cadaver."

Vivian Ho is a second-year medical student at Stanford. She received a MedScholars medical humanities grant to conduct an investigation on the healing patient-physician relationship within primary care, Tibetan medicine, and clinical chaplaincy. Her pieces have been published in Scientific American, Medical Teacher, and In-Training.

Lauren Joseph
Science Journalism

"Ledes and One-liners: Medical Training through Medical Journalism"

Lauren Joseph is a second-year medical student at Stanford. She received her MedScholars medical humanities grant to produce original stories in science journalism at STAT News over the summer of 2019.  

Read additional work by Lauren Joseph on Scope, published by the SOM.  

Hannah Rasmussen
Visual Art

In Dreams, Connected

Perspectives on Chronic Headache Pain

Hannah is a rising 5th year medical student at Stanford and is applying into Anesthesia this fall. Within Anesthesia she has a special interest in chronic pain, which stems from her own experience with migraine headaches. She is a longtime painter and amateur photographer, and has spent the last several months merging her passions for art and medicine through a scholarly project that aims to bring greater compassion and understanding for the chronic headache experience.

As part of this symposium you will see the charcoal sketches she has created as her personal interpretation of her participants’ headache experiences, as well as some of the key words from the participant interviews that inspired each sketch. These sketches will eventually be converted into oil paintings (one is already shown), and be displayed as part of a triptych where alongside interpretive photographs of the participants.

Mika Tabata


A song for Chiaki Tabata:

Recently, it has been painful to see my dad suffering with the loss of his mother, and I really want him to find joy in small things and make the most of his days, despite the grief. Although I cannot know the exact extent and nuances of what he is feeling, I can understand the feeling of loss. Through experiences inside and outside of the hospital I have learned to better empathize with human conditions, and I hope I continue to learn how to empathize with my patients and colleagues so I can best support them to “grow a garden.” Personally, meditation has helped me understand my emotions and cultivate the thoughts and attitudes necessary to show up in medical school, despite grieving losses in my personal life. I wrote this song hoping my dad can find something that helps him heal as well.