(Continued from Part 1)

At 11:30 am, I decided it was time for a new strategy. The university students and I had been shuttling between a canteen and the department in order not to take up the limited space in the waiting area. At the canteen, we went over the process of seeking consent from our caregivers a few more times. On my sixth trip to the Radiotherapy Department where I was hoping to gain the sympathy of a nurse to inquire about anyone else in the department who I may be able to speak to about the project, none other than the Head of Radiotherapy appeared from a room.

I could not bring myself to ask if contrary to what his secretary had said, he had been at the department all along. I was just relieved to have an opportunity to plead my case given how my time in Ghana was slowly but surely dwindling. After less than 5 minutes of conversation, he gave me the thumbs up. My project had apparently already been approved but somehow that information had not trickled down to Administration. Whatever the case was, I was delighted! The doctor then introduced me to the folks at the Radiotherapy Department’s records office and told me they would help me take things from there.

After listening to my spiel and perusing through my thick bound protocol, the Head of the Records Office said to me, “My sister, I don’t think you can start right away like you are saying. We usually need at least a month’s notice to prepare for research projects here.” – overlooking the fact that my submission had been made in January, 5 months ago. Even when I kept explaining my time restraint, and clarifying that for now, I would only be administering Needs Assessment Questionnaires to the caregivers and would only be sitting with them and asking a few questions, he was resolute in his response. There was just not enough time for them to prepare for us.

We were dismissed to the side as another young lady came in to speak to the Head of the Records Office. The two university students and I huddled in the corner of the crowded office to decide what the next step would be.

Then it happened.

The head of the records office said something to the young woman in French and I whipped around and engaged him in conversation in the language I adore and voila! The personal connection was formed.

Because of the common skill we both shared, not only was my Needs Assessment administered starting from that day, the Head of the Records Office rallied five national service young men who were available to come in and be trained in order to assist with my project. When I was heading home at 5pm, he walked me to the bus station so we could chat some more. Like me, he had been starved of French in a country surrounded by Francophone nations but where few were able to communicate past a few words. It was refreshing to have someone to banter with.

My day went from 0 to 100 because of something as simple but salient as the personal connection.

MountSinaiJan2013_169Efe “Chantal” Ghanney is an MD Candidate, Class of 2017

Ms. Ghanney’s summer research trip was funded by the The Arnhold Global Health Institute.

A Place for Narrative Medicine within Ophthalmology

Narrative medicine combines medical practice with humanism and art. One fourth-year medical student has co-founded an online publication that shares medical professionals and students reflections after treating patients who have suffered from opthalmological issues—through creative narratives. 
read more

Vision (1-3): Perception, Self-Awareness, and Fantasy

Vision (1-3) alludes to our naive fascination—an exploration of perception, self-awareness, and fantasy.
read more

Let’s Talk: Superwomen in Medicine

Conferred to medical students in their first year of training, the white coat is a symbol of professionalism that creates a sense of responsibility to become compassionate healers for those who wear it. We invited seven of our future women in medicine to share their personal journeys and thoughts about becoming a superwoman in a white coat. 
read more

Medical Students Advocate to #ProtectOurPatients

Medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) are trained to be informed advocates, activists, and change-makers for their patients and society. A few ISMMS students joined the #ProtectOurPatients movement in Washington, DC to sound a clarion call for change.
read more

Medical Students Dare to Enter the Tank

To culminate InFocus 7, the Department of Medical Education designed the School's first #MedEdTank, allowing third-year medical students the opportunity to pitch health care process improvements to leaders of the Mount Sinai Health System—in "Shark Tank" fashion.
read more



Outside the wind tears

still-green leaves from their branches

pulling them up and off 

like a corn shucker

ripping husk from kernels.

read more

Reflections on the White Coat

Every year, medical schools nationwide celebrate the incoming class of medical students during the White Coat Ceremony—the official start of their medical careers. Since its inception in the early 90s, the White Coat Ceremony has become a revered tradition that emphasizes the importance of both scientific excellence and compassionate care for patients. 
read more

Maria, Maria.

On September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, struck Puerto Rico, my home. It destroyed the entire island’s infrastructure and left 3.4 million people without electricity, water, and cell phone service—making internal and external communication, nearly impossible. These are facts. I’d like to get personal. I’d like to share how I was affected by this hurricane. 
read more

Still Waiting for Someone to Pinch Me

The White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage for beginning medical students that creates a psychological contract for professionalism and empathy in the practice of medicine. Slavena Salve Nissan, MD Candidate 2020, reflects on the ceremony's impact on her first step towards becoming a doctor. 
read more

So How Do We Actually Die?

Every year, students at the Icahn School of Medicine write Op-Ed articles about topics in health care and advocacy to culminate InFocus 4. Caitlyn Braschi's article, "So How Do We Actually Die?" was one of the 10 exemplary articles selected to appear in the 2016 issue of Physicians as Advocates—InFocus 4. We share her story. 
read more

Looking In

Every year, students at the Icahn School of Medicine write Op-Ed articles about topics in health care and advocacy to culminate InFocus 4. Charlotte Austin's article, “Looking In” was one of the 10 exemplary articles selected to appear in the  Physicians as Advocates—InFocus 4, and focuses on marginalized identities. We share her story. 
read more

All Roads Lead to Palliative Care—New York to Africa

During my sophomore year of college, I was thinking seriously about applying to medical school, but I was not sure if I would be able to handle working with dying patients. I decided to volunteer at a local hospice over the summer to confront that question as well as my personal fear of death. 
read more