The History of “Histories”

Sue Li always knew she was going to be a writer.

“I’ve been sort of writing my whole life,” she says. “Ever since I was a kid, I was always writing short stories in my notebook.”

Growing up as an only child who emigrated from China into the United States at the age of four, she often visited the library and could always be found with her head in a book—transporting herself to new worlds almost daily. Her frequent library visits also instilled in her a desire to have her own book on the shelf one day.  Read more

A [Paint] Nite in with SinaiArts

It’s a strange sight. Medical students not pounding the keys of their laptops. Not tapping on the screens of their iPhones. Not talking about going to an event or pursuing a research opportunity. In fact, not talking at all. Just dipping brushes into bright acrylic paints and with the focus and childlike joy of their younger selves, creating a landscape from the blank canvas in front of them.  Read more


Reading for pleasure after a drought feels, I imagine, like a marine animal breaching. Nowadays, an essay stands for indulgence; its serif fonts recall a time when my life was consumed by books (or rather, spent in their consumption). I catch glimpses of a world above, where epic meant poetry, meant story, meant the telling of tales til break of dawn, rather than the late-night perusal of electronic medical records in preparation for morning rounds. A haiku was not written finger-to-phone.

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Outside the wind tears

still-green leaves from their branches

pulling them up and off 

like a corn shucker

ripping husk from kernels.

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Photo Essay: Research in Fukushima, Japan

I spent two months last summer doing research in Fukushima, Japan on a trip supported by the Arnhold Global Health Institute at Mount Sinai and Rotary International. Along with another Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai medical student, I got an up-close look at the physical destruction and ongoing mental health challenges stemming from the March 2011 “triple disaster” (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident). During a radiation and disaster medicine course at the beginning of the summer, we traveled to areas destroyed by the tsunami, visited temporary housing complexes and local health screenings, and learned about the science of radiation monitoring. At the end of the summer, we joined a group of American 9/11 survivors visiting northern Japan to share their stories of trauma and recovery.

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Photo Essay: The Majesty of Central Park

Even when our schedules get very hectic, the majesty of Central Park – ever so close to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai–provides me with a constant reminder of the joys and wonders of living in New York City.

Spectacular view from the Levy Library cubicles on a summer evening

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Photo Essay: Creating a Dialogue on the Humanity Behind Sex Work

While working with the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), a human rights NGO in Cape Town, South Africa, I collaborated with my fellow ISMMS student, Vivian Nguyen, to create “I Am A Sex Worker.” Over the course of 9 weeks, we interviewed and took photos of 85 male, female, and transgender sex workers. Each has agreed to share their stories, portraits, and “I Am A Sex Worker” statements in hopes of combating the dehumanizing, sensationalized media representation of the sex work industry and those who participate in it. Through this project, we hope to spark a dialogue about the shared humanity in all of us.

Included here are 7 entries from “I Am A Sex Worker.” The full project can be viewed here.

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