KU School of Medicine–Wichita
1010 N. Kansas
Wichita, KS, 67214
June 10, 2021
In its regular format, Story Slams are five-minute competitions between people telling true life, personal accounts around a pre-selected topic in hopes of winning a prize. Recently medical students, residents and physicians gathered one evening to share their version of a Story Slam - honest, personal and sometimes difficult stories of their experiences; not in hopes of winning any prizes, but to connect with each other and reflect on the impact of the encounters. About a dozen came to hear the stories and support their friends and colleagues.
Saba Fatima, M.D., assistant professor in the KU School of Medicine-Wichita Department of Pediatrics - Hospital Medicine, initiated the event and read this quote from Iyanla Vanzant when she welcomed tellers and attendees. Vanzant is one of her favorite inspirational speakers and life coaches.
"It's important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their own story."
Fatima believes that sharing stories brings her, students and her colleagues closer together and enables them to celebrate experiences, learn about each other and helps them to feel less isolated because "medicine can, at times, be extremely isolating and challenging, but an also be so rewarding."
"They help us humanize our patients and their experience and also help accept the fact that we are all imperfect humans," she said. "It's a casual, safe space to share our struggles."
Tellers, in addition to Fatima, included Jessica Arnwine, fourth year medical student, Melissa Jefferson, M.D., newborn hospitalist, Elisa Stauffer, M.D., assistant professor, Melissa Hopper, Psy.D., CEDS, clinical associate professor, Wasay Khan, M.D., third year pediatric resident, and Elisha Yaghmai, M.D., hospitalist.
After the event, Arnwine said she had a great time. "I wish more medical students would have attended because I learned so much just listening to everyone's stories."
Hopper was appreciative to Fatima for starting this event. She said, "It is important to share stories to connect us with each other and our experience."
The audience and the tellers indicated they would like this type of event to continue. Fatima plans to schedule another one in a few months.
"When I did the event," Fatima said, "I realized there were so many stories and feelings that I could connect with that I had never talked about with my colleagues. When I saw them crying in the audience and on the stage, I felt an unspoken connection and acceptance."
Watch the Story Slam video to hear the personal accounts from medical students, residents and physicians.KU School of Medicine-Wichita