Adam Wilson, M1, Class of 2026

            I love theater. I participated in my high school’s drama club, and each year I go see a few plays and musicals in KC. There is something magical that happens on stage—human ingenuity creates dazzling sets, talented actors and actresses draw me into their worlds with wonderful performances, and beautiful music ferries me through the show. And when I was asked to come back to my high school to teach the tech crew how to operate the sound and light boards, of course I had to help.

            Returning to theater gives me a chance to reflect on what lessons and parallels I can draw. Most salient to me is the process by which characters are made legible (made comprehensible) on stage, and how I make myself legible to others by playing a script that others can understand based on notions of familiarity and acceptability. For example, in the case of many members of my former high school’s drama club, they must make themselves and their lives legible in a limited range of forms to access scholarships and better education on their college essays. I play the part of a medical student; therefore, I must play it adequately by exuding confidence and competence. If I were to falter at playing this part, I would expect some derision from my peers based on previous experiences of failing at playing my roles appropriately.

 “What have I done to myself to make myself more legible?” I often ask myself.

Adam Wilson, M1, CLass of 2026
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Finding a Friend, Finding a Home

Emily Casteen, M1, Class of 2026

The blizzard smothered the squeaky old subway as it slowly pressed toward the station. Nighttime had arrived, and the darkness was brightened only by a bit of shimmer from the ice and snow that stubbornly prevailed against any shovel. I rested against my cold, hardened seat, ready to enter this frosty wonderland with a new sense of excitement; I was going somewhere new. Comfortable in my alone-ness, I was quickly awakened from this slumber as I exited the station. I was lost in the city with every street sign covered in a white blanket that chilled me to my core. 

Not long later, a shadow made itself out to be a friendly face, a fellow lost traveler. “Where’s the door?!” she shouted, her voice rising above the gusts. Traversing together, we found not only the door but also a piping hot pizza waiting for us inside; we had finally arrived. Thawed by the pepperoni and the conversations of those around me, I warmed up to folks who would become close friends—the kind that have you over for dinner and make their home your home—and experienced the deepest joy as I opened my life up to these new people. 

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Dr. QeeQee Gao, MD

Everyone has a story, and each story is unique, intimate, and powerful. Our Narrative series invites you to step inside someone else’s life by reading their story, as told in their own words. Readers, please come open-minded and ready to engage in one of the many stories that makes our community complete. The following is the narrative of Dr. QeeQee Gao, MD, founder of Med Intima, KUSOM alumna, and first-year psychiatry resident at UPenn.

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2022 Gold Humanism Honor Society Solidarity Week: Reflections

2022 Gold Humanism Honor Society Solidarity Week: Reflections

Each year, the national Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) celebrates and commemorates compassionate patient care during the GHHS Solidarity Week. This year the KU GHHS chapter asked its faculty, resident, and student members to reflect on what it means to be a physician –particularly what it means to be a compassionate, humanistic physician. We hope you can join us this week in celebration and reflection of your personal and professional journey, and how to continually strive for compassionate, kind, and gentle human-centered care.

To learn more about the GHHS Solidarity Week, visit their website.

When both parties can see each other in the light of mutual understanding, healing may begin.  

Kate Rampon, MD
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We still aren’t free

We still aren’t free

Kakra Boye-Doe, M4, Class of 2022

To this day, the promises of Juneteenth have yet to be actualize. In 2021, over 150 years after the Emancipation proclamation and two years after, when all salves heard of their “freedom”, we still are not free.

Earlier this week, President Biden signed into law a bill that recognized Juneteenth as a National holiday. Juneteenth is the commeration of the day when federal troops took control of the state of Texas to ensure the freedom of slaves, June 19th, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation, itself, was a performative gesture. It only freed slaves under Confederate control.

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I am free

I am free

Kakra Boye-Doe, M4, Class of 2022

I didn’t think I would ever get to this point in my life, if I am being honest. I have hated a major part of myself since I was eight years old. I remember, as I am sure anyone who was raised in a Christian family would, praying to God that he would take this feeling away from me. The feeling I was describing was having an attraction to the same sex. I ran away from these thoughts and feelings as much as I could, but I could only get so far. I remember hearing people in church describing the abomination of homosexuality — destined for an eternity in hell. Hell ain’t it for me so I decided that wasn’t an option. I needed to suppress my attraction to men so I could be chilling in heaven. Suffice to say that didn’t work — and I am glad it didn’t work. What resulted out of this attempt was years of hating a part of myself; begging to God to take this away from me and trying to come to terms with how a merciful, loving God could have no mercy on individuals simply for something they have no control of. I now reject that notion that homosexuality is a hell sentence. If you believe homosexuality is a sin, fine — but a sin is a sin. Which makes my “sin” no better or worse than yours. But Christians choose what “sin” takes precedent over another. I reject that notion on the basis of love. I believe that it is not the case that homosexuality is a sentence to hell and I would implore “Christians” who are spreading that message to do a great deal of introspection — why does this bother you so much? Additionally, you “Christians” are doing a great disservice to the religion that you so fervently claim is about love — this isn’t love. This is hate. Full stop.

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Dr. Carla Keirns, MD, PhD

Everyone has a story, and each story is unique, intimate, and powerful. Our Narrative series invites you to step inside someone else’s life by reading their story, as told in their own words. Readers, please come open-minded and ready to engage in one of the many stories that makes our community complete. The following is the narrative of Dr. Carla Keirns, MD, PhD, a Professor of History and Philosophy of Medicine at KUMC.

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Karam Hamada, Class of 2024

Karam Hamada, Class of 2024


The KU School of Medicine Class of 2024 started medical school virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic. They were the only class for whom the white coat ceremony was held virtually. Most students got to know each other through the class GroupMe chat, and other than that, there were not too many chances to get to know people outside of small groups. One way through which students connected with each other was student interest groups led by several students in the class. One of these groups is the KUMC Student Community Providers, which organizes student volunteers to help with actionable ongoing needs in Wyandotte County. The group is currently managed by several students in Class of 2024, but it was initiated through the efforts of Sophia Leonard and Karam Hamada. This is a conversation between Karam Hamada, a second-year medical student at KUMC, and Kimia Memar, one of our Med Intima Narrative editors from the same class. 

  • How do you describe yourself?

I consider myself to be different if that makes sense. I have a fascination with not fitting in, and I have an issue with doing the same thing repetitively for long periods of time. So that’s why I always need to be doing different kinds of experiences all the time and meet different people.

  • From personal experience, I know not fitting in the mainstream is not easy. However, I see how you are embracing that and letting it liberate you.

I think part of it could be that I bounced around many different schools growing up. I went to 8 different schools, and every one of them was so different with regards to its identify, with students ranging from very low to very high socioeconomic statuses. Having to switch and adapt my identify to each of them was really taxing on me. So in college, I decided to be myself because I would never be able to fully fit in. I want to help my family and everyone around me, but I also want to uplift them to feel comfortable in doing what they want to do. I’m really big into service and that is not just community service: it is giving back and inspiring others to give back.

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Learning to Serve Others

Learning to Serve Others

Amber Smith, M2, Class of 2023 

Throughout this election cycle, our televisions, websites and social media are dominated by one issue: the future of healthcare. Millions of Americans do not have health insurance, which can prevent them from accessing the basic resources necessary for maintaining their health. To bridge this gap, the JayDoc Clinic at KUMC helps provide essential care, such as medications, diabetes treatment, eye exams, general health and community outreach for no cost to patients.

Amber Smith, a second-year medical student at KUMC, is an Executive Director for the JayDoc clinic. She plays an important role in the daily logistics, serves as a liaison between the students and patients, and helps plan the vision for the clinic. Smith’s inspiration for attending KUMC and joining JayDoc came from seeing healthcare inequity amongst her family and wanting to make sure others wouldn’t have the same experience.

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Women in Medicine Week

Women in Medicine Week

The KUMC Association of Women Surgeons, OB-GYN, and American Medical Women’s Association student interest groups hosted the first annual Women in Medicine Week from September 28th, 2020 – October 2nd, 2020. Programming featured women speakers from across all areas of medicine, and included a donation drive for Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter and resource here in Kansas City. Below is a feature from many of the speakers from the week that included discussions on Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Racial Disparities in OB/GYN, Women in Research, and more. All events were recorded and are available to watch at

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