DOM Shelter-in-Poetry Contest 2020

March 2020 brought to our community – and our entire world – a challenging and frightening pandemic. The UCSF Department of Medicine (DOM) mobilized its entire workforce of staff, faculty, and trainees to prepare for the worst as shelter-in-place orders were issued and our healthcare facilities geared up to meet the need. As the weeks marched forward and our community worked long hours, we put out a call to activate some of our higher senses – our artistic heritage.

We invited all members of the DOM community to engage in the work of resilience through the creation of poetry.

The 2020 Shelter-in-Poetry contest inspired the submission of 121 poems that spoke to the unique and shared experiences of our lives in the time of COVID-19. We are proud to share the results of our literary-minded colleagues in this first-of-its-kind magazine for the DOM. Authors’ thematic intentions are known only to themselves, but in order to facilitate a logical presentation, we have taken the liberty to group the poems into themes.We hope you enjoy each of these contributions and thank each and every brave member of the Department of Medicine who reached inside their hearts and minds to share everything from levity to catharsis in our ongoing journey together. 

Winning Entries

  • Alone – Caroline Nguyen, MD, Resident Trainee

  • An Oncologist at Home – Vanessa Kennedy, MD, Fellow

  • An Oncologist’s Deliberation – Andrew Ko, MD, Professor

  • April – Lorraine Hart, Personnel Operations Manager

  • Dear George – Denise L. Davis, MD, Professor

  • Elegy for Two Dead Men – Dean Schillinger, MD, Professor

  • For the World Has Gone Quiet Now – Tian Yuan (Tracy) Chen, Staff Research Associate

  • Friday the 13th – Redwing Keyssar, RN, Director of Patient & Caregiver Education

  • Lay Low, Stand Tall – Lauren Kaplan, Staff Researcher & Writer

  • Mount Zoom – Irina (Era) Kryzhanovskaya, MD, Assistant Professor

  • Not Just Heroes – Rahul Banerjee, MD, Fellow

  • The Things We Bear Alone – Tom McNalley, MD, Fellow

  • The WhatsApp Thread – Natasha Spottiswoode, MD, PhD, Resident Trainee

  • This Kind of Medicine – Sneha Daya, MD, Assistant Professor

  • Unmasked – Kay Wallis, MPH, Health Education Specialist