by Vivian J. Hua*   Beneath our fingertips, your bruises ripen under lamplight.We offer you small morselsof grief – you takeinside your mouth.You offer usyour wound –Inside, the soul soaks in silence.Your body closes.We, who can offer younothing but facilitationsof pain, sit quietly amongthe whirring machines.Meaningless gods, we thinkof tombs. Vivian Hua is a 5th year medical student at Stanford School of Medicine. She is pursuing a career in dermatology and is passionate about the intersection between dermatology and the medical humanities. Email:

The EMT, the Woman, and her Ankle

By David Williams* Abstract: An aged EMT learns that emergency medicine consists of more than controlling hemorrhage, dispensing nitroglycerin, and splinting bones. Occasionally, he finds that leading an active life yields rewards that cannot readily be measured. A Spartan race, a young woman, an injured ankle, and an aged EMT. Note the adjective: aged. I am not a young man. I am also an EMT. I got into the field really late. I got my EMT license at a time in life when most people in the field have left it decades ago for something better paid and less rigorous. I started my career at a point when most people … Continue reading

In Pursuit of Professionalization: A Curated List of Anti-Racism Readings

by Ellen Ahlness* Anti-racism and bias trainings are an important part of any health service and care provider’s professionalization; however, there are few standards that oversee the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion-based resources into formal education programs, continued training programs, and professionalization opportunities.  It is integral for medical practitioners, researchers, and academics to oppose all forms of systemic bias, discrimination, and racism through endorsing policies and initiatives that promote nondiscrimination. This includes the integration of best practices in clinical and research settings. Even as institutions can fall short of providing effective or comprehensive diversity and equity training, individuals have tremendous leeway to professionalize in this area, yet many cite … Continue reading

American Mohs

Brett W. Will, David J. Elpern, Roy C. Grekin, Douglas W. JohnsonCorresponding author, BWW Abstract Over 80 years ago, a medical student conceived of a novel approach to remove difficult-to-treat nonmelanoma skin cancers.  The procedure, called Mohs Micrographic Surgery (MMS), has been refined over the ensuing years and now large numbers of practitioners provide the service.  As the indications have continued to evolve and enlarge, the appropriate use of MMS needs to be addressed.  We look at the history of MMS since its inception and present questions that clinical dermatologists are asking. Most importantly, is MMS overused and if it is, should precautions be taken to temper its overuse? Introduction … Continue reading

The Interpreting Moth

by Tanya Magana   The poem is written from the point of view of a medical student watching a patient undergo a skin biopsy. After the procedure, the student senses that the Spanish speaking patient is a bit confused about his disease and the procedure. She helps bridge the communication gap by translating. The patient walks away having a better understanding of his diagnosis, as well as no longer feeling embarrassed to ask questions. Slipping in quietly, I am the unwanted mothNestled in safely between the corner of two wallsTheir brown eyes dart at me to shoo me awayStay in your corner, stay out of everyone’s way The man’s hair … Continue reading

AMA Board — 2021

From CMS OpenPayments There are twenty American Medical Association Board members as of September, 2021. Their total reimbursement, as gleaned from the CMS OpenPayments site, is recorded in the Table below. Only one member, an orthopedist, received any significant monies from Industry. Many orthopedists have done research on devices and significant General and Research payments are received by orthopedists, neurosurgeons and some other specialties. It is likely that the AMA has made an effort to keep its board free of members with troubling COI.                        General        Research       Total                          2500 0 2500 SC C FP   450 0 450 CA A Derm   5200 0 5200 TX C … Continue reading

The world is on hold, my breath is on hold

by Dr P Ravi Shankar MBBS, MS, FAIMER Fellow * The world is on hold Towns once thronging with humansEmpty with the police maintaining the peaceMy steps resound noisily on the deserted sidewalksThe restaurants, cafes, and bars eerily empty My breath is on hold The virus has attacked my lungs I drown in my own fluids Each breath was a struggle, a gasp for air Talking to a fellow human’s a risk Always be mindful of the SOP Provide everyone their personal space Handshakes, high fives, physical contact Avoid, out of the question You sanitize everything in sight, left and right I am still in the ICU Tubes snake in … Continue reading

Dermatology in Space

Dermatology in Space by Sara Malik Keywords: lunula, solar keratosis, satellite lesions, eponyms, linguistics, dermatology Space exploration has allowed us to traverse the universe and to gain insight into gravity, fluid dynamics, the solar system, and the evolution of planets. However, let us not forget the role that space has played in shaping our language, particularly that in dermatology. Dermatology contains several space eponyms, such as lunula, satellite lesions, and solar keratosis. These space eponyms provide information about an anatomical description, relative location and size, and the etiology of skin conditions. A brief definition and history on these space eponyms in dermatology is provided below. Lunula The term lunula comes … Continue reading

Henna: Multifaceted 

Henna: Multifaceted   by Sara Malik* Keywords: henna, hair, culture, plants, South Asia, contact dermatitis, dermatology Henna is a dye that is prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis that has been used for centuries to dye skin, hair, fingernails, and fabrics and can be found in hot climates. Henna has many useful properties as a cooling agent and anti-bacterial herb. The antimicrobial activity of henna is attributed to the free hydroxyls that can combine with carbohydrates and proteins in the bacterial cell wall; the hydroxyls may attach to and inactivate the enzyme sites of the microbes.1 The art of henna is a widespread cultural practice in countries in North Africa … Continue reading

Uncomfortable in Our Skin: Confronting Colorism in Dermatology

by Jason Gomez Jason Gomez is a third-year medical student at Stanford School of Medicine and an MBA candidate at Stanford Graduate School of Business pursuing a career in Dermatology. Email: The first patient I saw as a third-year medical student on my dermatology elective requested skin lightening cream. She “hated” her dark skin, particularly the areas where her melasma left hyperpigmented patches. She wasn’t alone. Throughout my rotation, I witnessed to black, hispanic, and south Asian patients investing in skin whiteness. But I never had a white patient ask me for a product that would darken their skin. Even if one of them had, I’m not sure what … Continue reading

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