Appendix no. 3 - Spring 2011

Beit Cholim - Julia Marino

a Journal of the Medical Humanities

What is an appendix anyway? 

In medicine we know it as a small blind-sac appendage coming off of the Cecum, worm-like in appearance, a remnant of unknown evolutionary origin, the general surgeon’s bread and butter of no known function in the living body.

But this isn’t a scientific journal, and in literature, an appendix is, quite often, a vital organ. The appendix tells us all of the pieces that were missing in the text. The key explanations and facts that make the work complete, that allow it to stand alone, yet still remain in the context intended by the author. 

And who are the authors of our experiences in medicine if not ourselves? Who better to give the context to our personal journeys as students, clinicians, scientists, and patients? 

Five years ago a medical humanities journal first emerged from the Medical School for International Health. At that time it was called the H-journal: Hope, Healing, & Humanity. While these remain core tenets of this journal and its artistic mission, it took on a new name the following year, the Appendix, and began to accept a wider range of artistic expression including visual art and essays. 

We are now proud to introduce the first online edition of the Appendix  journal, hoping that this will allow us to maintain a more consistent appendix to our global experiences in and around healthcare. 

The Appendix is divided into sections based on genres of literature and visual art. This collection of work is replete with vivid descriptions, bold analyses and playful interpretations. Some look at medicine as a fight against death, others as an alleviation of suffering. In art, perhaps, we find some means for both: the permanence of the works themselves and the catharsis we find in creation and appreciation of that creative expression.

We would like to express our deep appreciation to students, staff, and faculty of the Medical School for International Health.  Thank you to all who have submitted contributions and who continue to support this interdisciplinary endeavor both through creative expression and behind the scenes support. 

The Editors