The goal: To provide a platform that connects patients and providers as people through the health-related stories that give meaning to our lives—all in the spirit of wellness.
Columbia, MD – Please See Me, an online literary journal dedicated to highlighting creative writing and artistic expression through photography and digital media by patients, family members, caregivers, and providers alike was published for the first time by the Center for Healthcare Narratives with support from the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety on March 15th. The founding editor-in-chief of Please See Me, Tracy Granzyk, MS, MFA is a writer, filmmaker and healthcare content developer working to increase awareness around a culture of safety, health equity, and patient engagement through the creative arts.
Inspiration for the journal came from Please See Me, a short, award-winning film co-written and directed by Granzyk for MedStar Health, and that was used by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at their annual Quality Conference in 2016 as the keynote centerpiece to inspire conversations between patients and providers. “The main purpose in founding the literary journal was to create an open space for anyone who touches healthcare to explore their health-related stories and creative abilities without academic constraints,” said Granzyk. “I wanted to create a platform accessible to everyone; a place where patients, family members and providers alike feel welcome to tell their stories together, through poetry, essays, short stories, or visual arts. Please See Me is a place where all can reflect upon the health and healthcare experiences that are such a vital part of contemporary life.”
The journal will publish twice a year with each issue centered on a particular theme related to healthcare. The theme for the first issue is “conversation,” which yielded over 100 submissions. “For the first issue, we chose to focus on anything related to, or surrounding, a conversation between patients and providers, among family members, or even with one’s self,” said Granzyk, “The number of submissions we received confirms the need for this platform, and I was impressed by the high quality of creative content submitted in all genres.” One example is Cat Gwynn, a gifted photojournalist, mindfulness coach, and author whose book, 10-Mile Radius: Reframing Life on the Path Through Cancer, presents her way of coping with a Triple Negative breast cancer diagnosis through mindfulness and photography. Her interview in this issue demonstrates an artistic conversation with the self that inspired her healing. Cat is now 5 years cancer free, and teaches others how to remain in the moment through artistic expression, no matter the challenge – health related or otherwise.
Please See Me is a project supported by the Center for Healthcare Narratives at the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety. Our second issue will be published in September 2019, and we are taking submissions on the topic of “Pain.” Submissions for Please See Me can be made through the journal’s website via the Submittable platform. For those familiar with literary publications—online or print, think of Please See Me as a cross between the creative environment of Tin House and the healthcare-narrative focus of The Intima. We accept poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction, short films, and digital media.
About MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety
The mission of the Medstar Institute for Quality and Safety (MIQS) is to partner with patients, their families, and those that take care of them to improve patient care outcomes and reduce the global burden of preventable harm. Established by Medstar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, MIQS provides a global infrastructure in which leaders, front-line care givers, patients and family members jointly develop, educate, assess, and advocate for patient safety and clinical quality initiatives. For more information, visit www.medstariqs.org.
About the Center for Healthcare Narratives
The mission of the Center for Healthcare Narratives is to provide a creative and safe space for patients, families and providers to explore their own health-related stories via print, web and film. Our over-arching goal is to inspire a culture of safe, equitable and patient-centered care for all. The Center is both a resource and repository for the creation of healthcare narratives in any format, for any entity. All are welcome to learn more about how to best share their story in the spirit of MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy…in the spirit of compassion and customer service. For more information, visit www.medstariqs.org/healthcarenarratives or contact Tracy Granzyk at [email protected].
About MedStar Health
MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.