Introducing the COVID Diaries and Pandemic Reflections: Past, Present, Future

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have grappled with isolation, illness, loss, grief and anxiety. And we’re not out of the woods yet. 

A few months ago, Kris Baughman, Ph.D., an associate professor of family and community medicine, expressed with empathic concern a desire to help members of the NEOMED community who have experienced such loss and loneliness during the pandemic. When Dr. Baughman met with faculty members in the Exceptional Faculty Experience Group, they had an idea: Let’s give students, faculty and staff a chance to reflect on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A larger group that includes several members of the NEOMED administration was formed, and since then, several ideas have emerged. The result? A plan to provide physical and digital spaces/events for students, faculty and staff to come together, share their stories and know that they are not alone. 

Called Pandemic Reflection: Past, Present, Future, the presentation of these reflections will begin in the fall. Look for announcements in The Pulse.

One such space for shared reflection is NEOMED’s COVID Diaries ― a place to honor and memorialize our experiences, even as we continue through another wave of the virus.  

Loosely inspired by the CDC’s Pandemic Influenza Storybook project, which collects stories from the survivors of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, the COVID Diaries will feature visual art (including photography) and written testimonials reflecting on life during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Write for the COVID Diaries 

We invite submissions from across the NEOMED community. You may find one or more of the following prompts useful, but are also encouraged to explore other topics that more fully capture your own experience.  

  • Define what the word “loss” has meant to you over the past year.
  • Explain what has kept you going and/or helped you to cope over the past year. 
  • Describe something — a mindset, a practice, a realization, etc. — that you will carry forward in your post-pandemic future.
  • Memorialize the death of a loved one during the pandemic, whether from COVID-19 or another cause, by sharing a story and photo (optional). 
  • Describe a hobby you discovered or returned to in the past year. Feel free to include a photo of anything you cooked or created!
  • Share your happiest memory from the past year. 

Submit your COVID Diaries content to The Pulse at Select the category NEWS & ARTICLES above the search box, which will generate a screen with a green box “SUBMIT NEWS & ARTICLES.” Click the box and fill in the form that appears. You’ll have the option to include 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, including photography, 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

-Submitted by Rachel Bracken, Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine

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