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University of Massachusetts Medical School Humanities Lab

Medical Humanities Lab: UMMS Projects

Official website of the Medical Humanities Lab at UMass Medical School

Projects from Members of the Humanities in Medicine Lab

The Projects Section is an area to view Current Projects and Legacy Projects by members of the UMass Medical School Medical Humanities Lab. It is a forum for members of the UMMS Humanities in Medicine community to find collaborators and is also a resource for students to identify potential project advisors and collaborators for Capstone and other projects. For more information on a particular project, please email the project's contact(s).

Legacy Projects or projects that have been transferred between students in different graduating classes have been marked with a ☆ 

Medicine and Narrative

2020 Hindsight Website

Project Description: This year has been more than any of us has bargained for, and we have collectively experiences many highs and lows. Introducing 2020 Hindsight, a creative space to reflect on our year. Please submit photos, essays, poetry, recordings, or other media from your experiences this year to Please include whether you would like your submission to be anonymous or not and a brief description and title of your piece (if you would like one included). This will be compiled into a portfolio-style site, a virtual space where we can come together. Any questions can also be submitted to

Contact: Megan Hansen and Bronwyn Wada-Gill

Project Status: Website is live!

Legacy Project

Project Description: 

Adapted from The Moth storytelling radio show and podcast, Med Moth was established by medical students at UMMS in 2016 to provide a forum for those in the medical community to share reflections on their experiences in medicine, in an effort to address the pressing issues of burnout. The goal of Med Moth is to promote humanism in medicine through storytelling by all members of the greater UMMS medical community. This provides the opportunity for individuals to not only reflect, but also learn from the diverse perspectives and experiences of their peers. Past storytellers have ranged from the Chief of Pediatric Surgery to registered nurses to medical students.


Project Status: Ongoing

Date of the next Med Moth: TBD

Project Description:

An online literary and visual art publication of the University of Massachusetts Medical School . The journal is a collaborative project for students in the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Nursing, and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, as well as residents, faculty, patients and other members of the UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center community, to channel their experiences through works of poetry, prose, and photography.

Read the most recent issue


Project Status: Ongoing, Currently soliciting works for the next issue

Project Description:

Family Medicine Moments (formerly Thursday Morning Memo) is a forum for students, residents, and faculty to reflect on meaningful moments in their care of patients, teaching or in life in the form of a story, essay, narrative, poem, haiku, 55-word story or photo. The list-serve is based within the Family Medicine & Community Health Department at UMass Medical School.

For more information and to view current and past Thursday Morning Memos, visit the Family Medicine Resources Page


Hugh Silk

Status: Ongoing, Accepting submissions from Department members


Project Description: Very active group at Eisenberg of elderly writers that has been studied. Group taught by Lucia Knowles. The writing activities really engaged the seniors and Joel organized a study looking at depression, socialization, and MOCA scores and found improved socialization—saw tremendous engagement. An additional outcome was a published book of the group’s writing. Lucia Knowles taught this and is going to do this at 4 Nursing Homes—has specific questions she will have them write to.

Contact: Joel Popkin

Project Status: Ongoing. Looking for students who might be interested in taking part in this project, looking at the effects of the writing itself.

Project Description: Dual-diagnosis theater for patients with co-occurring mental health issues and substance use to process their experiences through dramatherapy. Currently collaborating with Dr. Xiaoduo Fan.

Contact: William Bernard Reid-Varley

Project Status: Ongoing

Technology and Medical Humanities

Project Description: The Interstitium is a new multimedia, online home for the University of Massachusetts Medical School community members. The blog serves as a space for sharing reflections on daily life, medical training, and medical practice.


Contact: Megan Hansen

Project Status: Currently accepting submissions of insights, questions, and experiences to

Project Description: Murmurs: Stories from our Journey in Medicine is a narrative medicine podcast that explores how health providers and trainees think about their experiences in medicine, from how they relate to their patients to what makes medical professionals tick. Each episode features a member of the UMass Medical School community to discuss a poem or essay they have written about an impactful moment in their medical education or career and takes the listener through the inspiration, writing process and interview with the author. This storytelling podcast is the Capstone project of Divya Bhatia ('21) and Qiuwei Yang ('22), with Dr. Hugh Silk advising. 

Podcasts will be released weekly and are available to subscribe now on Apple iTunes PodcastsSpotifyAnchor, and other streaming platforms! Through these podcasts, we hope to build community, promote reflection and increase awareness of issues of medical education and health inequality. Reach us at or through our Anchor homepage: 

Podcast episodes are archived in eScholarship@UMMS:


Qiuwei Yang
Lael Ngangmeni
Jesse Sardell

Project Status: Now streaming! Have completed the first season. 

Project Description:

Mobile-friendly website with a collection of essays, poems, and linked readings to foster meaning and humanism in medicine. The website replaced the physical anthology of student writings given to the third year class as a reminder of humanism.


Dave Hatem

Project Status: Website complete. Requires annual review.

Medicine and Literature

Project Description: Developing research and events on the subject of graphic medicine and incorporating the library's graphic medicine collection.

Contact: Tori Rossetti

Project Status: Ongoing

Medicine and Music

Project Description: Have New Music therapist—1st music therapist seeing adults and looking to build music therapy. 

Contact: Jen Reidy

Project Status: Ongoing. Looking for help demonstrating value and measuring outcomes.

Project Description: Interested in “Mental Music” (thinking about music) v listening to music—light up different areas of the brain on functional MRI; wants to see if something can be done with Parkinson’s and thinking about music and if this has any therapeutic effect.

Contact: Joel Popkin

Project Status: In development.

Profiles of Medical Professionals

Project Description: 

This website/podcast has two aims 1) to focus on what really matters within a life in medicine 2) to profile the extraordinary people who make up the world of medicine in a series called Humans of Medicine.

The Human Side (of Medicine) focuses on the diverse range of stories and people that make up medicine. And on the issues in medicine that are not always comfortable to discuss but are absolutely necessary for dismantling injustice within our field and getting to the heart of the matter. I want to inspire people from all walks of life to consider the health professions, and the best way I know how to do this is to lead by example. 


Contact: Rose Schutzberg

Project Status: Ongoing, currently accepting stories from medical professionals

Optional Enrichment Electives (OEE)


Art for Physicians
Description: This OEE will be a unique opportunity for undergraduate medical students to explore the integration of medicine and the visual arts. Students will learn about the history and importance of medical illustrators and art therapists and gain basic art skills in the context of medical illustration, graphic medicine, and art therapy.

Contact: Erin Johnson (

Available: Fall semester


Medical Creative Writing

The focus of this elective is to use reflective writing, including essays, creative nonfiction, poetry and short fiction, to sharpen your powers of observation, description and analysis. We have found the writing process to be a valuable method of reflection, enhancing participants' ability to understand - from their own perspective and that of others - the experience of becoming a doctor. Writing about encounters with patients, faculty, and other health care providers, and sharing the writing in a supportive group setting, facilitates mindfulness and deepens understanding of how these experiences influence one's personal and professional development.

Contact: Dr. Dave Hatem (

Available: Fall semester

Flexible Clinical Experiences (FCE)

Hosted by the Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts Medical School