Throughout my time so far in medical school, I have experienced a wide variety of thoughts, feelings, and emotions, many wonderful, some not so much. I have labored to learn many difficult concepts, and I’ve been grateful to grasp the rare simple ones without too much difficulty. I have interacted with peers, mentors, professors, and administrators, each with a unique place in the picture and a different role to play in this ever-expanding universe of medicine. I have even been able to catch an elusive glance of life beyond medicine, when I make an effort to do so, and see that there is so much more to each of these people. There is more to a physician than the white coat and prescription pad. There is more to patients than disease. It’s easy to convince myself that I know this is true, but I find myself being struck, time and again, with this realization, especially when I have the opportunity to get to know those I interact with on a more personal level.
My portrayal of the Tree of Hippocrates, a symbol of medical teaching and learning, made of over 1,100 pieces of walnut and poplar, stacked in 74 unique layers, is intended to evoke the idea that medicine is learned, taught, and practiced in layers, and that individuality is essential in forming a truly successful team. Each piece of the artwork was individually measured, cut, placed, and glued into a specific location, and it takes them all working together to make the picture of the tree take life. Likewise, we all bring our unique talents, strengths, opinions, and goals, and only when working together in harmony can we visualize the layers and depth that transform our contributions into a work of art in medicine.