COVID Diaries: Pandemic Pressures

The COVID Diaries feature visual art, including photography, and written testimonials reflecting on life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Submissions from across the NEOMED community are welcome; see the submission guidelines below.

Jude Meniru, M.D., M.A. (’21), is a resident physician in internal medicine at Summa Health System. Born in London, England, Dr. Meniru grew up in Canton, Ohio. He attended The University of Akron for his undergraduate education, then earned both an M.D. and M.A. in Medical Ethics and Humanities at NEOMED.

Dr. Meniru writes: 

This piece was digitally painted in December 2020 to express the current experience of health care professionals navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The health care professional in the center of the painting can represent anyone in a medical field – physician, nurse practitioner, nurse or health care aid. The hands each represent different facets of the public’s actions in the United States. The four pale hands at the bottom represent patients afflicted with COVID-19 clamoring for the attention of their doctors while also being financially depleted following hospitalization. The two tan hands on either side of the professional represent the public’s disregard for masks and other precautions, as well as the public’s continued mass gatherings in the form of parties and other large-scale social functions. 

The darker hands on the left side of the photo represent the particular struggles of the African American community during the pandemic, due to the higher rate of complications this group experienced while simultaneously navigating the social protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. This piece has continued relevance to the current day, due to the current discourse regarding vaccination mandates and the contrasting beliefs of health care providers and the public. 

As long as this conflict persists, health care professionals will continue to suffer higher rates of burnout compared with other populations as they struggle to manage a worsening pandemic with limited resources.

Submit your COVID Diaries content to The Pulse at thepulse.neomed.edu. Select the category NEWS & ARTICLES to the left of the search icon, which will generate a screen with a green button labeled “SUBMIT NEWS & ARTICLES.” Click the button and fill in the form that appears. You’ll have the option of  including a photo. Title your submission COVID Diaries: _____, including a subtitle unique to your submission, for example, COVID Diaries: Baking My Way Through.

Written pieces should be 200-300 words. Submissions of visual art should be accompanied by an explanatory artist’s statement or personal reflection of 200-300 words that contextualizes the significance of the work shared. 

Questions? Contact Rachel Bracken, Ph.D., at rbracken@neomed.edu.

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