Thank you for picking up the 2019 edition of Rubor: Reflections on Medicine from the Wasatch Front. This year’s publication includes some powerful and thoughtful visual and literary works that explore current pressing themes related to medicine.
This past November I interviewed Dr. Rafael Campo, current poetry editor of JAMA. As an editor of Rubor and a proponent for the medical arts and humanities, his words resonated with me:
When we think about the humanities, we think about morality. We think about ethics. We think about power dynamics. Who gets to tell the story? . . . that’s the joy of this work — being people together — and by presenting myself as a fellow human. I hope that models a different way of being in medicine. We’re not just robots, we’re not just technicians, we’re not just in our white coats in disguise. We’re people. All of us.
With these thoughts in mind, I am so grateful for the opportunity to bear witness and share this collection of the seventh edition of Rubor. Dr. Campo’s words remind me of how important a humanities publication is to our medical community at the University of Utah. Whether we are students, providers, professors, patients, or family members, we are united in our humanity.
We share in the experience of making mistakes and celebrating successes, as well as lives and histories that extend far beyond the hospital campus. This amounts to different perspectives and stories worth sharing.
Many different themes present within our published work this year. Multiple authors explore memorable interactions with patients, from the arena of pediatrics in “To Astra in Clinic 6,” to end-of-life experiences in “Triplets” and “What’s Worse.” Sacrifice and the ripple effects on families of working in healthcare are beautifully conveyed in the poems “Balance” and “Who Heals the Healer?” We can chuckle together over humorous hospital moments in the cartoons of “A Joke A Day.” “Differential Diagnosis: Climate Change” speaks to the far-reaching environmental implications of the medical system, a perspective that resonates with current conservation efforts of the Utah open lands. “Snoop” is a poignant response to racist comments experienced as a student doctor in the operating room, and at a school attempting to diversify its student population. I implore you to think critically and reflect on the voices present in this publication.
I’m so grateful to the artists and authors for sharing their experiences with us. I owe incredible thanks to our 2019 team of content editors and review staff for helping us select our pieces for this publication; Dr. Susan Sample for her never-ending guidance and support; Dr. Gretchen Case for her continuous advice through the publication process; the Program in Medical Ethics and Humanities for providing the primary funding and support for this publication; Kristy Martin at Sheridan Printing; and my amazing co-editors — Lily Boettcher, Phoebe Draper and Serena Fang. Rubor has filled a vital space in my heart as a medical student these past four years and I am so grateful to everyone I have had a chance to work with. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I will miss this more than you can imagine.
With warm wishes,