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There are many, many doctors and medical students walking down hospital and clinic hallways who are extraordinarily creative, sometimes even without meaning to be. They express this creativity in political advocacy, leadership, entrepreneurship, technology, writing, music, art, teaching, or other forms. They join a long history of creative, worldly physicians like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. and Anton Chekhov. However, in the current climate of medicine, some say it is not easy or necessarily rewarded to be creative, inside or outside the hospital. Going down the medical path often involves pressures to quickly extinguish all creativity, and conform to a series of pre-ordained steps and traditions.

The community of Doctors Who Create, with this website as its hub, aims to challenge that status quo. We want to change the culture of medicine to encourage and reward creativity. We’re starting by highlighting creative things that are already happening, cultivating physician and student networks, and providing inspiration for future physicians. In the future, we hope to arrange conferences, contests, and scholarships for creative people in medicine.

Doctors Who Create is changing the culture of medicine to encourage and reward creativity. We hope you contribute a post, join our community, read more about our mission, and enjoy the site.

Questions, suggestions, or want to get involved? Email


We are a team of dedicated volunteers: attendings, residents, medical students, post-bac pre-meds, and undergraduates, all passionate about the DWC mission.


Photo credit: Peggy Peterson Photography

Vidya Viswanathan is the founder of Doctors Who Create and is a third-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her BA in Social Studies and a citation in Mandarin Chinese from Harvard College. She freelance writes about medicine and innovation, and has published in The Atlantic and MedTech Boston. Read her writing at and follow her on twitter (@vidyavis).



stephaniewooStephanie Woo is a current M3 at Georgetown University School of Medicine. In 2012, she earned her BA in History and Science at Harvard College, for which she wrote her senior thesis on the political, economic, and social factors influencing the bubonic plague outbreak in San Francisco in 1900-1904. While she is keeping an open mind with regard to medical specialties, she has a special interest in working with cancer patients. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys practicing yoga, learning to play the ukulele, and playing with her family’s beagle.


laurenkimLauren Kim is a senior majoring in health and societies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is passionate about public health, nutrition, and medicine. She is especially interested in learning about different traditional and alternative philosophies of medicine around the world and hopes to gain more exposure to integrative medicine in the future. She is a sunny Californian at heart and loves to take random quizzes on Buzzfeed, play the violin, doodle, and journal in her free time. Her spirit animal is the wolf.



Emily Wendell is a pre-med student living in Boston, MA, who has always been interested in the intersection of medicine and the arts. While majoring in Biology at Williams College, Emily also studied art history and studio art. After school, she spent two years in healthcare communications where she worked on branding and messaging platforms for health related companies, followed by two years at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) doing research in shared decision making. At MGH, Emily also helped administrate the Literature and Medicine book group, facilitated by Dr. Suzanna Koven. Emily is currently a Research Assistant at Ariadne Labs and plans to start medical school in fall 2017.


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Hello!  My name is Christopher Magoon. I’m a budding fourth year at Perelman SOM currently on a Fulbright research year-out in China. I’m thrilled to be an editor of the Daily Dose section, with hopes of facilitating heartfelt stories about medicine and its many tentacles.  Feel free to follow/contact me at or @cpdmagoon.

ektaI’m Dr. Ekta Taneja, a PGY3 psychiatry resident at the Cambridge Health Alliance and one of the editors of the Daily Dose. While at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a friend and I developed and implemented a humanism in medicine elective at our school. The purpose of the elective was to re-engage medical students’ creativity and empathy at precisely the time when it was challenged the most, and the course was a resounding success – it has continued on at the school several years after its creators graduated. Residency thus far has transformed me into a masked, white-coat-clad crusader flitting from corner-to-corner of the hospital in a caffeine-induced frenzy, attempting healing magic on all who cross my path. And now it’s time to bring that healing magic to bear at a broader level of impact, trying to keep the flames of the humanities burning within the field of medicine.



Eugenia Xiao is a junior at Cornell University pursuing a B.A. in anthropology and biology, and is an editor of the Profiles in Creativity section. She has an interest in telling human stories of the past and present.




Esha Khurana is a 4th year MD/MPH student with a passion for social justice, literature, philosophy, public health, and neuroscience, among other things. When she’s not diving into a new intellectual passion, she enjoys rock climbing, reading, writing, kayaking, dancing, and hiking in her spare time. But this is also likely to change, because she really enjoys constantly learning new things and picking up new hobbies. The best way to find out more about her is to probably ask her in person over a cup of green tea.


Michael Natter is a native of New York City to which he attributes much of his initial creative influence. Growing up blocks away from beacons of culture exposed him to the arts early on. A type 1 diabetic, diagnosed at age 9, Natterwas drawn to the medical field, however, he was steered toward the arts and away from the sciences which did not come as naturally to him. He studied studio art and neuropsychology at Skidmore College where he first began to recognize the parallels between art and science. Natter went on to complete a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Columbia University and is now a current fourth year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. The body of his work is largely inspired by his medical studies, anatomy, and the human condition. He has gained national recognition for his use of visual study techniques and doodling of his medical journey on instagram, which was highlighted on Buzzfeed. His work is regularly featured in the health section of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Natter currently lives and attends medical school in Philadelphia and plans to do a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in endocrinology. He is an editor of the Visual Arts section.

Kathryn Ticehurst is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania and an editor of the Visual Arts section.


erikalandauI’m Dr. Erika Landau, and I write a column on art and medicine. I was born and educated in Romania, a beautiful country with beautiful people that was destroyed by Communism. I received a BA in Fine Arts and my MD degree from the Iuliu Hatieganu Institute of Medicine. As living under the Communist dictatorship was not an option, I came to the US, where I continued my medical training in pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and as a research fellow at the Rockefeller University in New York. I am an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and I have a private practice. I have learned medicine through drawing and now I have the opportunity to teach it as well. Among other courses, I teach the ” Interplay of Art and Medicine” a course where the medical students are exposed to art and learn to look at illness and patients from a different and complex point of view. I lecture at national and international conferences on the subject of art and medicine and I am so grateful that I can combine these two great passions of my life. I am an award-winning artist and have published a book, “The essential guide to your baby’s first year.” I am married, live in Manhattan and I have a wonderful daughter and son-in-law.

alex chen

Alex Chen is in his second year of training as a physician/anthropologist at Penn, exploring ways in which design can open new ways of seeing/thinking about medicine, health, and care. He daydreams often and you can find some of the results at He is always looking for design gigs and collaborations. Alex publishes a mixed media column on new frontiers in care.


hafsabhattyMy name is Hafsa Bhatty and I’m a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, and plan to double major in the Biological Basis of Behavior and English. I am interested in being a doctor-writer one day, and my biggest sources of inspiration are Atul Gawande and the late Paul Kalanithi. The field of medicine that I am intrigued by is Oncology, because the fear and helplessness surrounding cancer fascinate me. Other than my two major interests-medicine and writing- I am a huge cat lover (I have five at home in Pakistan, and occasionally volunteer at PAWS while at Penn).

neelduggalNeel Duggal is a Boston-based medical writer and journalist, and a research assistant at Centering Healthcare Institute. He is a graduate from The NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study where he designed a concentration in health policy, medical anthropology, and pre-medical sciences. In his free time, he likes exploring the new songs that come up on his Spotify and cooking something cool from the NYTimes Food section. You can follow him on his Instagram @leenback08. He still needs to be a good journalist and get a Twitter.



Justin Grenet is a 2nd year at the Perelman School of Medicine. He grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and attended Duke University where he majored in Economics and stumbled into a creative writing course. One thing led to another and he entered medical school committed to making sense of his experiences through writing.

Anita Lowe Application Photo

Anita Lowe is a fourth year medical student at Stanford who is interested in community health and the impact of the environment on health.  Stemming from Colorado, she is also an avid hiker and skier with a strong love of the outdoors and a passion for wilderness conservation.




Chiemela Ohanele is a pre-medical student at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in biology with a concentration in mechanisms of disease. She enjoys exploring the outdoors, singing classical music, and diving into creative thought.




Nilan Schnure is a fourth year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania applying this fall for residency in Internal Medicine. Hailing from Bethesda, MD, he received his BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University with a certificate in Global Health and Health Policy. His typical outlets include running and singing, with interests also in medical narratives and community through writing.



Allison Swiecki-Sikora is a second-year medical student at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She received her BA in Government from Harvard College and worked in politics and clinical research before medical school.

Isabella Cuan is a senior studying neuroscience and art history at the University of Pennsylvania. As a long-time photographer and art enthusiast, she is passionate about pursuing an interdisciplinary education dedicated to diminishing the divide between science and art. She currently conducts research in the fields of narrative medicine and health services and hopes to pursue a degree in the medical humanities before matriculating to medical school.


Card, Elizabeth

Lizz Card is a current second year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She graduated from Tufts University in 2014 with a BS in Biology and shortly thereafter moved to Laos to teach English as a Fulbright Scholar. She has been painting, drawing, and occasionally sculpting all her life, and now prefers to paint with oil and draw with gouache and pastel. Her subject matter includes the human form, especially in the context of medicine and basic science research. As she pursues a career in health care, she would like to make the technical aspects of medicine and biomedical science accessible to the general public through painting. Her art can be found on her Facebook page<> and her website

conniejiangConnie Jiang is a second-year MD/PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania. A “lifer” of sorts, she graduated from Penn in 2015 with a BA in Biochemistry and MS in Chemistry. She has been experimenting with art for what feels like her whole life and enjoys doodling and arranging music and hiding tiny paper cranes in unexpected places. Recently she’s been exploring with ways to use art to enhance her scientific life/thought, crafting figures for scientific papers and experimenting with digital media and illustration.




Darlina Liu is a senior studying biology and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in the many intersections of healthcare, especially with technology and education. In her free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and dancing.




Benjamin Silva is sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. He is studying biology with a concentration in mechanisms of disease, and plans to eventually complete medical school and become a pediatrician. His creative interests include poetry, cinematography, and martial arts.


chukwumaonyebekeChukwuma Onyebeke is a second-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his BS in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale College. During Yale he developed a passion for community engagement in New Haven, where he ran a weekly soup kitchen and worked as a patient services volunteer and health educator at HAVEN Free Clinic. Before coming to medical school he spent a year conducting heart failure research at the Yale School of Medicine. Chukwuma is interested in cardiology, public health and health systems. As an avid podcast listener, Chukwuma is very excited to co-host the DWC podcast.
magoonkatieKatie Magoon comes to medical school with more than 5 years of experience in nursing. She worked as a nurse and interim coordinator for Yale-New Haven Children Hospital’s pediatric palliative team. She then worked as a nurse practitioner at an adolescent community center in Manhattan called The Door–A Center for Alternatives, and in Brooklyn at two adolescent HIV clinics where she provided Primary and HIV care to her patients. Her clinical work has strengthened her understanding of and exposure to health policy issues. She obtained a master’s in health policy from NYU School of Public Service and continues to work on quality, access, and health economics as a medical student. Katie also has an emerging interest in medical history and is currently spearheading an oral history project that aims to engage with and record stories of women in medicine. A writer, photographer, and dancer, Katie is very excited to join Doctors Who Create (DWC). She loves nothing more than to learn about the stories and experiences of others, and is especially thrilled to host the DWC podcast.


Tochukwu Awachie is a sophomore majoring in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She believes deeply in the benefits of integrating the arts and sciences, and alongside her passions of poetry and visual art, she plans to pursue a career in pediatrics with a specialty in infectious disease. She also hopes to one day conduct groundbreaking HIV and AIDS research.

yinkaOraYinka Orafidiya is a ceramic artist with bachelor’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently completing pre-medical coursework at Temple University while maintaining an active studio practice in her hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Her artwork is grounded in the desire to unite through shared humanity, connect, and affect social change. She believes in the power of art and science to heal lives, and hopes that her strong passion for both will uniquely enhance her future contributions as a physician.





Samantha Slomiak is a Psychiatry resident at Columbia University. She previously earned her B.S. in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh and her M.D. from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is fascinated by the intersection of the mind and medicine, as well as the influence of art on our perception of the world.

AnanyaAnanya Chandra is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania interested in both chemistry and neuroscience. She currently works at the Grill Lab studying neuroscience. Outside of science, she enjoys photography and art, and spends a majority of her time as the photo editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian.


Jihan Ryu is a resident physician in psychiatry at the Mount Sinai St. Lukes-West Hospital in New York, NY. He received his MD and AB degrees at Dartmouth College, where he studied History and was Art Director of the Dartmouth Independent magazine. He regularly writes, curates, and collaborates with artists and scientists on the opportunities to link resources in psychology, arts, and science to enhance our understanding of mental health issues. He has published in the Institute on Psychiatric Services for his work on building resilience through virtual group reflection.



head-shot-ajwAmy Waldner is an Emergency Medicine Resident at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her BA in Biology at Gustavus Adolphus College and MD from George Washington University, also completing a health policy track. She is a regular volunteer at Puentes de Salud and Penn’s Refugee Clinic, as well as an asylum evaluator for Physicians for Human Rights. She’s interested in care provided to vulnerable populations, especially immigrant populations.