Voices from the Wards

“Voices from the Wards” is a collection of 55-word stories written by medical students and published annually by the Gold Humanism Honor Society senior class at the University of Utah School of Medicine. These stories transcend specific writing genres, employing aspects of both poetry and prose to craft brief, poignant vignettes of experiences as physicians-in-training. The purpose of the collection is to transmit emotional knowledge between classes of medical students. Thus, the booklets are specifically designed to fit in white coat or scrub pockets, to serve as a reference when emotionally strained, or as a touchstone for recalling our own initial forays into the clinical world of medicine.


Voices from the Wards: a Collection of 55-Word Stories from the University of Utah School of Medicine Class of 2019. Cover painting, “The Leap,” by Phoebe Draper MED ’21.

Editors: Kajsa Vlasic MED ’19 and Dannen Wright MED ’19

Faculty Advisors:  Tiffany Glasgow, MD and Gretchen Case, PhD

The first issue of “Voices” at the University of Utah School of Medicine was produced by Kajsa Vlasic and Dannen Wright, 2018-2019 Gold Humanism Honor Society members and School of Medicine graduates from the class of 2019. They were inspired by the 55-word story project at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and wanted to create a similar project at their home institution.

In this inaugural issue, the student doctors of the class of 2019 tackle timeless themes inherent to this profession, as well as contemporary issues that resonate nationally and globally. They describe the intersections of politics and medicine. They recognize the importance of dignity. They catalogue the frustrations that accompany the often long and thankless hours of work contributed by medical students, who are often witnessing firsthand for the first time the most vulnerable and tragic moments of patients’ lives. They contemplate meaning and order in the setting of senseless events, bad luck, and unforeseen outcomes. Lastly, these stories also remind us of the abundance of humor and humanity encountered in this profession.

The 2019 issue of “Voices” was printed in a run of 250 copies, distributed to newly elected members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, class of 2020, as well as rising third-year medical students in the class of 2021, right before they embarked on their transition into wards medicine.