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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181d77d2a
Other Features: Cover Art

Artist's Statement: “DNAsed and Confused”

Galster, Kellen

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Mr. Galster is a second-year medical student, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York.

I composed “DNAsed and Confused” during the tumultuous first few weeks of medical school. In the face of an onslaught of facts from many different clinical positions, I was overwhelmed with mountains of details each focused on only one aspect of the biological and medical spectrum. At the time I felt flustered by the seemingly endless networks of proteins involved in DNA expression, modeling, replication, and repair. I designed this piece of artwork to represent the madness I felt was going on at the molecular level. The double helix has vibrant colors, sharp angles, and bold black lines that sharply contrast with its background. Creating this piece allowed me to express the chaos I could not put in words to my peers in school, nor to my family or friends at home.

Not surprisingly, since I entered medical school, my life has been heavily reliant on my ability to access information quickly and easily. My laptop has been an inseparable companion. I composed “DNAsed and Confused” on my laptop in the midst of a busy school day, during a few precious leisurely moments of mental recess and resuscitation. Although photography has been my predominant mode of creativity, it is not as easy to escape to nearby picturesque landscapes—urban or natural—as it once was.

Since the hectic time during my first year when I created this piece, I have learned to better absorb the abundant quantities of important information. Continuing to take mental breaks, utilizing new creative outlets, and forcing old habits (such as photography breaks) back into the picture has allowed me to experience many successes—both small and large. Artwork has been a useful form of self-expression as well as a helpful study tool allowing me to better visualize and organize medical knowledge.

Kellen Galster

Figure. DNAsed and C...
Figure. DNAsed and C...
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