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Book Review: May 2023

"Letter to a Young Female Physician: Thoughts on Life and Work" by Dr. Suzanne Koven

Dr. Suzanne Koven begins her essay collection, “Letter to a Young Female Physician: Thoughts on Life and Work”, as one might expect – with a letter.[1] As she watches a crop of incoming interns write letters to their future selves, she reflects on her own career: the pressures she faced to prove herself, to value her skills, and to serve her patients well. This was in 2017, and it seems anecdotally that the call for reflection has come earlier and earlier in medical training in recent years. As a medical student (still a year away from intern orientation), I’ve participated in innumerable letter-writing exercises just like the one that inspired Dr. Koven. In this book, Dr. KoveN shows us why these reflections are so important. Dr. Koven describes a background caught between the arts and the sciences. As the daughter of an orthopedic surgeon, surrounded from an early age by men who practiced medicine, she always had an idea of the role of the doctor. Whether she saw herself in that role is a bit more complicated – in her book, she details the struggles that she felt in her early science courses, that science felt “unnatural” to her, despite her earning good grades. She attended Yale for college, where she studied English Literature. She then went on to Johns Hopkins for medical school and residency in primary care internal medicine, after which she joined Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where she is now Writer-in-Residence.[2]

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Book Review: March 2023

BOOK REVIEW: A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student by Dr. Perri Klass

Reviewed by: Ariana Ginsberg

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