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"When she asks for a story about heroes, this is the one we will share"

Throughout my adult life, I have been encouraged to “live in the present”. During these past few weeks, that advice has taken on a whole new meaning for myself and my colleagues. We are now living day to day, sometimes hour to hour, or minute to minute. Therefore, I find myself fortunate when I get the opportunity to think about the future. I am excited when I think about our new interns joining us in July. It’s true that our Match Day celebrations looked and felt very different this year. Instead of gathering in a conference room to congratulate our new trainees, my residents and I joined our program directors and program manager on a large group call. In spite of canceled Match Day celebrations at their own institutions, the group sounded eager to come join us in New York. It was clear to me how honored they were to be joining our program. The excitement was overwhelming, and I look forward to them bringing that same energy with them when they arrive. I am deeply inspired by our medical students. As soon as they were told it would be safest to postpone their education, they immediately looked for ways to help the CUIMC community and the patients we serve. I am fortunate to be working on three different OBGYN projects along with the COVID Student Service Corp, which also includes students from both our nursing and public health schools.

In these past few weeks, I have seen young men and women rise into leadership roles with a command and confidence needed during this crisis. I am in awe of our volunteers, who are spending their time assisting our patients remotely, helping to make this transition into uncharted territory go smoothly. I know they wish they could do more, but I have complete faith that when they return to their training, they will become some of the finest students we have ever seen. Lastly, I am hopeful for my family. I am a first-time expecting mother who found herself four months pregnant when this pandemic began. With the support and care of my family, friends, and physicians, I am getting though this challenge. Although most of my appointments have moved to telehealth visits, the level of care I receive has remained. My physicians continue to check in, council, and monitor my progress as if nothing has changed.

The same goes for my in-person visits to my OB, to my own department at Columbia. Many people on the front lines do not work with me directly, and therefore I am another woman in need of care. I can see the fear and exhaustion in their eyes, but more importantly, I feel the warmth of their smiles behind their masks, the relief in their laughter, and the kindness they give to me and my baby. One day, my daughter will ask me about this time. I look forward to telling her the story of all of the amazing, brilliant, selfless, and brave men and women I had the honor of working beside. When she asks for a story about heroes, this is the one we will share. I also plan to tell her that the world she is a part of was made better because of the people I am currently working with, both directly and indirectly. Because even during these dark times, the future continues to look bright.

- Dana Feinberg-Gerard, Medical Education Coordinator, CUIMC, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

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