The Medicine & the Muse Virtual Symposium
April 24, 2021


Medicine & the Muse Annual Symposium

Saturday, April 24, 2021
Virtual Meeting

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 took place virtually.

This year, Symposium featured keynote, Pádraig Ó Tuama, host of the Poetry Unbound podcast with On Being Studios and in late 2019 was named Theologian in Residence for On Being, innovating in bringing art and theology into public and civic life. 

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

Gallery of creative and scholarly work

Grace Adebogun

Do No Harm

Grace is an undergraduate freshman at Stanford hoping to major in Human Biology and minor in Education. As an aspiring physician, she plans to advocate for increased representation for Black women and women of color in the medical field. She also plans to advocate for increased health education for young children and teenagers.

Tasnim Ahmed


Tasnim is an MS3 hailing from NYC. Tasnim is a writer also interested in global health and health disparities.

Ellie Beam

Given Space

Ellie is an MD/PhD student currently completing her clinical rotations. She is interested in the intersections of neuroscience, psychiatry, and the humanities.

Arokoruba Cheetham-West

She needs no pity

Arokoruba is a first-year medical student from Nigeria. Arokoruba loves fiction writing, neuroscience, and the medical humanities, broadly.

Cesar Garcia
Writing & Audio

Comic Book Sketches

Cesar is a first year medical student originally from Tehachapi, California which is a small town located in the Central Valley. He likes to think that life can be lived through the lens of hip hop culture, where the point is to express your unique style by combining disparate elements, seeking to understand others, and having fun. Growing up, Cesar was always an avid lover of hip hop and breakdance, traditionally known as breaking, and looks forward to expressing these parts of himself as he pursues a career in medicine. Cesar is excited to share the following spoken word piece which was written with rhythmic progression common to freestyle rap.  

Listen here

Amisha Iyer

"If There's Nothing Left"

Amisha is a sophomore planning on majoring in Biology. Amisha has been dancing for the past 16 years, and have recently gained a new appreciation for the art form, as it has really helped her through the pandemic. What has been something that has kept you going through this period?

Tatum La
Poetry & Film

Six Thirty

Tatum is a freshman at Stanford from Houston, Texas. During her undergraduate career, she intends to study Human Biology on the pre-medical track. She enjoys combining storytelling, social media, and medicine to connect with others.

Krystal Lai

This Is Our Lane

Krystal is a fourth year medical student who loves movies, documentaries, and anything having to do with film. She has completed her scholarly concentration in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities and will be starting her Internal Medicine residency this year.

Angie Lee

First, we drew, My Mother’s Shoes, Hal-abeoji, Quarantine Orders: A History

Angie is a senior at Stanford majoring in English and minoring in Human Biology. Her creative writing often explores her interdisciplinary interests in medicine and the humanities. In her free time, Angie likes to sing a cappella, eat spicy tuna rolls, and blog about how disabled people are, in fact, fully able.

Grace Li

Portrait of a Thief (excerpt)

Grace is a graduate of Duke University, where she studied biology and creative writing, and is currently a second year medical student at Stanford. Her debut novel, Portrait of a Thief, will be published in Spring 2022 from Tiny Rep Books/Dutton (Penguin Random House).

Katherine Lyman

Excerpts from Article Draft: “Psychosis and Spiritual Experience: Comparative Perspectives from Patients” 

Katherine is an MS5 who is graduating this year and moving to southern California to begin psychiatry residency training at the UCLA-Kern program. Before medical school, she obtained degrees in Music, German Literature, and Middle East Studies, and has enjoyed staying connected to the humanities during medical school through the Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration. 

Nathan Makarewicz
Visual Art

"Everything's for $ale" (currency collage)

Nathan is a first-year medical student here at Stanford.  He grew up in Salt Lake City Utah and attended Princeton University for undergrad.  At Princeton, Nathan was an athlete and majored in visual arts, ecology and evolutionary biology.  After finishing medical school, Nathan hopes to practice plastic surgery. 

Jeanne L. Martin, PhD

Harp Interlude:  Connecting with Aesthetics and Harmony in Medicine

Participants may use this interlude to contemplate their own connections to music in the imaginative and well-lived life, and in the healing process.

Jeanne is a professional harpist and mythologist who lectures on the timeless connections between music and medicine in the ancient world, applying it to her work with the dying as a Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioner based in Santa Barbara, CA. She is presently interested in collaborating on projects combining sound and music with science and technology.

Vongai Mlambo

Chest Pain

Vongai is from Zimbabwe and is a first year medical student. In her work, Vongai brings attention to the humanity in illness and tells childhood stories that invoke her familial and national culture. She has published poetry and short stories in Airport Road, an NYU journal of creative works. Any free time is used to host outdoor picnics, drink too much tea, craft new slam poetry and paint by numbers.

Rachana Mudipalli
Music & Multimedia

The Microbe

“The Microbe” is an art song composed by Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987), an American composer, pianist, and teacher. The music is set to the words of the British-French writer Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953).

Rachana is a junior majoring in bioengineering. She enjoys conducting research in bioengineering and neuroscience as a member of the Deisseroth Lab, and loves learning more about the newest techniques in the field. She also loves learning new music, spending time with her dog Jaanu, crocheting, and exploring the beautiful nature preserves of Northern CA.

Chelsea Nnebe

Prelude To A Kiss (Piano), Alicia Keys

Chelsea is an MD/PhD student here at Stanford who likes to sing.

Stacie Ong

Beneath the SurfaceMedium: Graphite

Barefoot, Medium: Graphite

Stacie is a second year medical student at Stanford interested in psychiatry. In her free time, she enjoys painting and drawing, spending time with her family and cats, and playing board games.

Elaine Park
Digital Illustration

heart to heart

language barriers

Elaine is a graduating senior, studying psychology and communication. She is a self-taught artist who primarily creates digital illustrations and animations. Through her pieces, she aims to deliver messages of social impact and spark important conversations.

Cheryl Passanisi
Poem and Audio

The Burghers of Calais –
after Vaccination in hospital Atrium I

Cheryl is a writer, poet, performer and NP. Her collection of poetry was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020. Geraniums From the Little Sophias of Unruly Wisdom. In non-COVID times, she is active in community theatre and local opera. She works as an NP in hematology at the Cancer Center.

Listen here

Emma Rashes
Children's Book

Lily the Llama Helps Her Herd

Emma is a senior and master’s student at Stanford University where she is studying biology. She has always loved science and hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Emma wrote Lily the Llama Helps Her Herd to share her love of science and teach others about the importance of vaccination!

Hannah Rasmussen

Perspectives on Pain: Exploring Chronic Headache Pain through Painting and Photography

This exhibit is meant to be viewed as "triplicates" composed of: 1) a painting interpretation of the participant's headache experience, 2) a photograph of the participant or of something that symbolizes the participant's headache experience, and 3) a monochrome panel created digitally in the color the participant assigned to their headache experience.

Each triplicate is accompanied by three words that inspired my painting, as well as a quote from the participant's interview regarding their headache experience.

The last slides show works that are in-process.

Hannah is an MS5/5 medical student who will be entering residency this June. She will be completing a preliminary medicine year in Portland and then returning to Stanford for anesthesiology training! She has an interest in chronic pain management, which was the inspiration for her chronic headache project submitted to Medicine and the Muse.

Remembering Rose, Shada Sinclair

Shada Sinclair

Remembering Rose, embroidery on tulle

Earlier this year, we lost a loved and valuable member of the Stanford School of Medicine community. This piece is inspired by Rose. I am grateful I was able to share in her presence and saw glimpses of her incredible contributions to this world. I recall classmates checking in and handing out roses in the wake of the news. It’s something that will stick with me forever as we honor her legacy and figure out our own unique ways of caring for the wellbeing of others.

Shada is a first year MD student trying to traverse the waters of medical school while  grounding herself in art through different mediums. She considers herself an explorer at heart and has recently discovered an unexpected love for painting with oil and threads. It feeds her soul and she is excited to unearth new loves.

Dillon Stull

The Weathervane

Dillon is a fourth-year medical student with interests in philosophy, theology, and poetry. He would like to thank Dr. Audrey Shafer and the MedScholars program and its donors for contributing to the composition of this poem and the collection to which it belongs.

Jonathan Tang

A 7-Day Journey in Grief- Music, Poetry, Food, and Love

Part 1 | My Story

Part 2 | A Guide

Jonathan is an undergraduate student at Stanford majoring in Human Biology, interested in Health disparities and epidemiology. He loves listening to the Beatles or any other songs from the 50s'-70s', and loves playing guitar, piano, and of course, the otamatone. His personal journey through grief from losing his father to cancer, and the life his father lived, inspires him to share his experience and inspire others to heal with faith, hope, and community.

Ben Teasdale
Writing & Multimedia

A Bronx Tradition

Ben is a third-year medical student currently on a MedScholars Fellowship grant through the Bioethics and Medical Humanities Department. He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, where he studied history and philosophy of medicine, and the University of Vermont, where he studied biochemistry.

Angeline Truong

Pandemic Elegy 

Angeline is interested in the intersections of medicine, storytelling, and social justice. She hopes to combine a career as a physician with her interests in writing to advocate for and provide care to the underserved, with a particular focus on the Vietnamese refugee community.

Christine Xu

From Cane to Canine: Ophthalmologists Need Guide Dog Training (MedScholars summary)

Christine is a medical student passionate about improving patient-provider relationships through humanities-focused medicine, reflective practice, and cultural competency. Her writings on narrative medicine have been published in Palliative & Supportive Care.