Graduate Reflections through Art

We salute the hard work of our current third years in the Emergency Department in the past several years. They are role models for hard work, fun, and teaching. Good luck to you all!

Here we have a reflection from one of our IUEM advocacy track leaders and graduates, Kim Van Ryzin.

If you want to watch a video of her project see below!“>Link to IU Health Art Project Video

Advocacy work can be approached in many different meaningful ways depending on one’s interests, the scale at which one wishes to work, and the cause chosen. As a physician, medicine provides a compelling field in which to advocate for diverse populations and causes. For example, some may choose to focus on large populations through work in health care policy, while others may choose to represent an individual’s or a family’s needs while working in the Emergency Department. Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to be able to participate in many different advocacy work opportunities. However, I have found myself the most inspired, fulfilled, and happiest being a member of Dr. Angi Fiege’s program, Rachel’s First Week (RFW).

Dr. Fiege and her family founded Rachel’s First Week in loving memory of their daughter, Rachel, who tragically died her first week of college due to a head bleed sustained after a fall while at a party. Rachel’s First Week is a grass-roots advocacy program aimed at facilitating a safe and successful transition for high school seniors through sharing Rachel’s story and teaching injury prevention and safety education. The Fiege family and friends honor Rachel by touching thousands of lives each year during a one hour presentation given at high schools and colleges across central Indiana. Rachel’s story and other difficult topics perhaps not otherwise touched on in the classroom (alcohol, drugs, depression) are discussed in order to give guidance on how to handle these potentially dangerous situations and to ultimately prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.

My work as a RFW presenter is an opportunity unique to IUEM and as greatly enriched my experience as a resident. Interacting with the students through presenting these difficult topics connected me to this population and the community. I felt energized and fulfilled after each presentation knowing I had made a positive impact on the lives of these students. I know my participation in RFW has even helped protect me against burn out through the joy and connection to community it has brought me. I believe by facilitating powerful advocacy experiences in residency, physicians may be more inclined to be active in advocacy as a staff physician. I know my involvement in RFW has ensured my continued involvement in advocacy work in the future. 

Finally, Dr. Fiege’s success with RFW encouraged me to pursue my own project, the Methodist Rotating Art Gallery, inspired by the experience of the loss of my father. After having experienced this type of loss in my own life, I could truly appreciate Dr. Fiege’s tenacity, strength, and deep love for Rachel demonstrated by her willingness to share Rachel’s story in order to prevent future tragedies. I am honored to support one of my mentors and friends, Dr. Fiege, by continuing to remember her daughter through our work with this population. I am so grateful Dr. Fiege has facilitated this opportunity for me and other residents. Being a member of RFW has been one of the best experiences of residency at IUEM and is certainly one in which I have made a positive impact on our community through education.​

  • written by Kim Van Ryzin, IUEM Graduate 2018