Family Medicine Moments (formerly Thursday Morning Memo) is a weekly distribution list that shares stories from the Family Medicine and Community Health community at UMass Chan Medical School that includes Fitchburg, Barre, Worcester, Lawrence and also community docs, students, residents, scribes, and graduates of our program and school. Curated by Hugh Silk, MD and Linda Cragin, MS, it is a forum to share clinical success stories, dilemmas and interesting encounters. Dr. Silk provides an introduction for each piece. This site, established in October 2022, is a collection of Family Medicine Moments submissions. Submissions from 2014-2020 are currently available in a separate archive.

Authors of works posted in this archive agree to the terms of the eScholarship@UMassChan Non-Exclusive Deposit License. Original works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC) license, which permits re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and the material is not used for commercial purposes.


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Recently Published

  • Celebrating and Congratulations!

    Silk, Hugh (2024-03-21)
    Introduction: This week I am celebrating, along with my colleagues, our very successful match into family medicine (and to our residencies)! With 14.02% of UMass Chan students matching into Family Medicine, we exceeded the national average of 12.7% (per AAFP). Family Medicine Proud! This quote from Dr. Victor Johnson, known as the founding father of the College of General Practitioners now the College of Family Physicians in Canada, summarizes their future impact. "I became convinced that the medical profession would be saved not by its organization but by the sum total of the common sense and humanity of its individual practicing members. General practitioners... are the doctors closest to [the] people. They heal more of the broken hearted, repair more of the injured and deprived, and live with the poor and dying who are without influence and hope. As Family Physicians, you are ideally positioned in the health care system to understand patients and their family and community context, and to provide for them a deep connection, compassion, and care." The picture below says it best. These individuals are way more than a statistic. They will make us proud in the way Victor Johnson wanted family doctors to be. Congratulations to these future family physicians and to all who taught, challenged, mentored, coached, consoled, and encouraged them. Take a moment and congratulate yourselves too! Be well.
  • Over Fartsgrensen

    Gracey, Kristina (2024-03-14)
    Introduction: This week I am grateful to Kristina Gracey, faculty at Barre Family Health Center, for her essay that is both personal and informative. She is an avid and successful runner. Which can be dangerous. She has been thinking about this element of risk and adds a public health perspective to her reflection that I personally admire. Food for thought for possible collective advocacy by us all on this topic.
  • Photos of Meaningful Things and Places

    Penumetcha, Venkata "Sai Sri"; Isaac, Tamika; Coderre, Danielle; Silk, Hugh (2024-03-07)
    Introduction: This week I have a visual treat. Last week Sara Shields and I had a session with the PGY1s on the topic of medical humanities and one of the prompts was to go into the hospital and return with a photo of something that is meaningful to you - can be a piece, a thing, a person. The discussion that ensued from these photos was wonderful! I am sharing some of the photos here for you with their title. Enjoy.
  • The Greatest Health Care System in the World

    Adelstein, Pamela (2024-02-22)
    Introduction: This week I am sharing with you another piece from Pam Adelstein, a former resident of the Family Health Center of Worcester, and now the Medical Director at Fenway Health. Her piece was written as a reflection on the prompt “cold”. As you can see, she writes about way too many people being left out in the cold in our healthcare system.
  • 2024 Gold Humanism Summit Art Gallery

    Silk, Hugh (2024-02-15)
    Introduction: This week I do not have a local piece to share, per se. However, I am sending you all to explore the 2024 Gold Humanism Summit Art Gallery, which showcases artwork that reflects experiences, creativity and insights from clinicians, trainees, patients, caregivers, and members of the healthcare community. I hope you enjoy this collection of visual art, video, performance, song, poetry, narrative writing, pottery, and more. The entries are from across the country. Represented from UMass are Jennifer Sohn and myself. Jennifer, (who worked with me during her LPP,) did a lovely drawing entitled, "the same on the inside". She wrote - I drew this during my second year of medical school after working for several months with local community members experiencing homelessness. I was struck by the way people tend to see unhoused individuals as intrinsically different from themselves. I wanted to emphasize that we are all human and feel joy and sadness in the same ways, no matter what our lived experiences may include. Mine is a poem entitled, Brief Advice to a Young Doctor. You can find them and many more incredible offerings here: https://www.gold-foundation.org/programs/2024-gold-humanism-summit/2024-gold-humanism-summit-art-gallery/
  • What Still I Rise Means to Me

    Street, Ashley; Mbusa, Daniel (2024-02-08)
    Introduction: As we reflect on Black History Month, honoring the contributions, triumphs, and struggles of African Americans throughout our history, this is a timely submission. Ashley Street and Daniel Mbusa, who are both starting medical school in the fall (congratulations!), are participating in the Scribe Fellowship/PRISM’s academic enrichment sessions coordinated by Linda Cragin and Dr. Mariann Manno. During a recent session on Reflective Medicine with Dr. Bronwyn Cooper, they all discussed Maya Angelo’s poem, Still I Rise (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46446/still-i-rise). Daniel and Ashley share what this poem means to them. On a personal note, my wife and I saw Maya Angelou speak when we were in our informative years and were so moved, we gave our youngest daughter her name as a middle name. Her words are a powerful reminder of what many endure and overcome. The words below are inspiring as the next generation learns from Maya's message and prepares for their own path forward. Our future is bright with physicians like them – we wish them well.
  • No wrong of their own

    Yalakkishettar, Pratiksha (2024-02-01)
    Introduction: This week I share with you a poem from Pratiksha Yalakkishettar, a former family medicine resident at Hahnemann Family Health Center and current Preventive Medicine resident. She says this is "a piece I wrote recently reflecting on an incident on L&D from a few years ago during FM residency where a mother was going to be separated from her child after discharge." There is nothing as overwhelming in life as being separated from a loved one and even worse when it is a child. Pratiksha captures the moment from the clinician's perspective.
  • Dementia

    Gussak, Lisa S. (2024-01-25)
    Introduction: This week I am delighted to include a visual reflection. It's not often that we do that with FMM. Thank you to Lisa Gussak who is a faculty member in our department, the director of the center for clinical communication and professionalism, and an avid photographer. She often finds things in nature that reminds her of medical conditions or findings. For this image, she writes the following: It’s called Dementia, and this is what I’ve written about it: I have a dear friend who is just one day older than me. For many years we toasted to our growing maturity with a night out in late December. Roughly three years ago, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I no longer want to celebrate our aging, a potent reminder of the changes in her thinking, in our conversation, what we laugh about. I want to freeze her mind, just as it is, while she knows me and smiles at our shared memories.
  • Telehealth from the Driveway

    Adelstein, Pamela (2024-01-18)
    Introduction: This week I am sharing with you another piece from the very talented Pam Adelstein, a former resident of the Family Health Center of Worcester, and now the Medical Director at Fenway Health. She reflects in her piece (previously published in Pulse) on doing the work to help people who are often neglected in the health system and berated in some states in the US. She writes her own satisfaction with her work and the bravery of her patient. She wrote in her email to me: "The theme [for the call from Pulse for writing was] A Ray of Light. In this essay I describe a work experience which hopefully will inspire you to find and abide by your inner truth, even if profound bravery is required. This essay illustrates one reason why I do what I do."
  • Por la madrugada (A Tribute to Jeff Satnick)

    Kostecki, Anita (2024-01-11)
    Welcome back to FMM and welcome to 2024. Hoping this will be a very reflective year for you. I want to start the year with an important piece from Anita Kostecki, who is a graduate of the Family Medicine Residency (FHCW) and a long-time faculty member who provides part time care at EMK. She has been thinking more about the passing of our colleague Jeff Satnick. She has captured her thoughts here on what he meant to her and her family, and also what he meant to our department, community and his patients. I am so glad she has done this. A void has occurred with his passing. I simply loved seeing him at medical gatherings for all that he stood for and the joy he brought to conversations I would have with him. However, this is Anita's reflection, and I won't distract. She included these thoughts in her email to me: [I wrote this reflection] both on my personal and family's responses to Jeff's passing as well as an attempt to highlight and honor the many unique and wonderful aspects of his life. I was hoping by sharing my own experience of grief, that others may connect it to losses they have experienced and find it helpful in some way as they go forward in their lives as best they can after the death of a beloved friend or family member.
  • More Short Writings #2

    Reynolds, Maggie (2023-12-21)
    Introduction: Maggie Reynolds, UMass Chan '26, is the last of the students in my Structural Inequity, Advocacy, and Justice (SIAJ) Pathway to share their writing from our recent humanities session. She has written several pieces about the inequities she sees around her as she volunteers and interacts with people in Worcester. She describes the context of each piece below.
  • More Short Writings

    Patel, Rahi; Parthiban, Kayal; Silk, Hugh (2023-12-14)
    Introduction: As a follow up to last week I am sharing more short writings from our Medical Humanities session in my Structural Inequity, Advocacy, and Justice Pathway. I am sharing reflections from Rahi Patel, UMass Chan 2027 and Kayal Parthiban, UMass Chan 2027. During this type of session, I always write as well to role model that we all can do this in real time - so you will see my "on-the fly" writing below too. Enjoy the Haikus and 6-word story. Here is what Rahi and Kayal said in their emails to me: "I wanted to thank you for a great humanities session today! It was wonderful to put back in context the reasons why I chose medicine amidst the craziness. Also, I hadn’t written a haiku in so long, but found it to be just as powerful when I have pages of stream of consciousness, so thank you for that as wel." (Rahi) - "Thanks for the wonderful session on writing today." (Kayal)
  • FMM Haikus

    Brooks, Liana; Hudson, Matthew; Waltman, Elizabeth (2023-12-07)
    Introduction: This past week I had a writing session with the students in my Structural Inequity, Advocacy, and Justice Pathway in the medical school. I asked the students for some short writing -- 6-word stories, haiku, 55-word stories, and poetry. I share some of them below. I also share with you some of their sentiments about having time to reflect and write. "I used to write much more often (prior to med school), so I really enjoyed this session" (Matthew Hudson UMass Chan '26) - "This session reminded me why I chose an English major during college!" (Elizabeth Waltman UMass Chan '26) - "Thank you for the opportunity to reflect creatively about meaningful medical experiences. I wrote these haikus about some experiences I had in LPP and hospital sessions and wanted to share them with you. The last one I wrote about my grandmother who has since passed from a late detection of cancer she had been complaining about for a while before being diagnosed*. Thanks again, this session really helped me today. I had no idea how nice it would be to take a break from being strictly clinical." (Liana Brooks UMass Chan '26)
  • Being Grateful

    Silk, Hugh (2023-11-16)
    Introduction: A week to go until Thanksgiving - a time to be thankful. Or better yet - grateful. We all have tough days in health care and health education, and yet they are likely better than the days our most vulnerable patients and neighbours face. So, I want to take a few minutes to express some gratitude below. I often start my classes with students with a brief meditation so that we can let other things go and just be present to each other. This time of year, I do a gratitude meditation. Let this be your opportunity to do your own gratitude meditation. And if the spirit moves you, send it to me to be shared here. Thanks.
  • Skin Rash

    Adelstein, Pamela (2023-11-09)
    Introduction: We have not heard from our most proficient writer for a while, so I am sharing one of her reflections again. Pam Adelstein is a former resident of the Family Health Center of Worcester, and now the Medical Director at Fenway Health. She writes regularly for Pulse and this is another one of her previously published pieces published in September 2023. In the short story she reminds us about the special relationship we have with our children as family physicians - they get grossed out at times, are fascinated at other times, and ultimately, really have our number. Enjoy.
  • More on White Coats

    Hashmi, Mustafa; Arulanandam, Vishni; Anonymous (2023-11-02)
    Introduction: Some weeks I enjoy sending you to other sites to explore and experience local reflective writing. This week I want to shine a light on recent postings on The Interstitium, a blog created by a former UMass Chan student and carried on by others. A recent post includes three short essays on what the white coat means to new students. I think it is important to have as many of us as possible read what the brave souls amongst us have purposely decided to share with our community. These students share their raw feelings of understandable anxiety, imposter syndrome, and future aspirations.
  • An Oral Health Reflection

    Garcia, Grant (2023-10-26)
    Introduction: Every once in a while, I get to use my editorial license to choose topics that are near and dear to my heart. This week, I share with you a reflection from Grant Garcia, UMass Chan SOM '24 who recently did my oral health elective. During this elective, students are asked to think broader about what they are seeing about access, role models, and other observations of inequity. I think Grant has made some important comments that we all can learn from as we think about what our patients are experiencing in the dental and health settings as well as in society in general.
  • Treating Patients, not Diseases

    Singer, Robert E (2023-10-19)
    Introduction: I am pleased to again have Dr. Bob Singer reach out with his reflection. I love how far our FMM messages travel. Bob was a resident at UMass Family Practice Residency Program from 1978 to 1981 when the Family Health Center of Worcester was called the Family Health and Social Service Center. He then practiced in Everett for years and then moved to Maryland to do geriatric work before retiring. He wrote today's piece after reading the headline and article below. I think it is a nice follow up from last week's theme of relationship as medicine. I had a similar experience to Bob - his words really resonate with me. Researchers Find Evidence Of “Long Cold” Syndrome Following Infection With Variety Of Common Respiratory Viruses NBC News (10/6, Carroll) reported, “The coronavirus isn’t the only pathogen that can cause symptoms that last months, or even years, after an initial infection is overcome, a...study published Friday in The Lancet’s eClinicalMedicine suggests.” According to “an analysis of data from 10,171 U.K. adults, the researchers found evidence of a ‘long cold’ syndrome that can follow infection with a variety of common respiratory viruses, including common cold viruses and influenza.”
  • The Relationship is the Medicine

    Silk, Hugh (2023-10-12)
    Introduction: I am writing a short reflection below as a companion piece to last week's story by Merredith. It follows along the lines of sayings in our specialty, like - "Don't just do something, stand there." I created a whole lecture on the power of "Doing Nothing." We all know, it is not really nothing, it is a lot of something, just not things that can be billed for or objectively evaluated necessarily. But they can be powerful.
  • Getting Back in the Saddle

    Moreau, Merredith (2023-10-05)
    Introduction: This week I have a story from Merredith Moreau, a nurse practitioner who works with me at the Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Program at the Family Health Center of Worcester. She told us this story at one of our staff meetings where we share successes to remind us all why we do this work. I also love this reflection as it is exactly what the Family Medicine Moments was intended for - to celebrate our little triumphs that we garner each day, each week, year by year, moment by moment. This is our antidote to burnout - this moment that Merredith has captured below is what helps us to thrive. Pure joy. Enjoy.

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