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5:30-7:30PM, 6th Floor
Trent Semans Center for Health Education

Free parking is available in the underground Bryan Research Building Parking Garage on Research Drive 4:30-8:30pm.
The Trent Semans Center is directly across the circle from the garage. From the entrance, take the elevator to the 6th floor.

Welcome and opening remarks at 6:00PM
Heavy hor d'oeuvres and drinks

For more information, email or call 919 668-9000.

Scopes is a student-led initiative that is committed to integrating the arts and humanities into medical education at Duke. Scopes provides first-year medical students with an opportunity to consider the experiences of patients through creative forms and media, such as photography, film, writing, visual arts, music, and beyond. Join us for the showcase of the final works.

The exhibition will include the medical student pieces below representing patient experiences:

Sarah Alkilany
Screen Print

This collection is a commentary on the phases of human life and the evolution of one’s state of health, emotions, and experiences.  As you walk through the series, a blank mask—which symbolizes the blank slate of a neonate—becomes adorned with relics, accents of color, and fundamental changes.  Each change symbolizes a new stage or event in the patient’s life, as the artifact of the mask itself symbolizes the facades many of us as humans convey to the outside world. As you travel through the series in space, the mask itself traverses time, showing signs following the growth, climax, resolution, and eventual regeneration of life. This takes into account the effects that everything from ailments and remedies, to the development and loss of personal adventures and relationships, can bring.

Sarah was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  While pursuing her studies in biomedical engineering and medicine took her up and down the east coast, she always found harmony in her native urban environment, drawing inspiration for this work from its constantly changing landscapes and underlying tones of organized chaos.  Oil paints and clay have been past favorite media for this young artist. However, a recent exploration of screen printing proved ideal to showcase the significance of repetition, development, and deterioration that Sarah feels is present as core aspects in her own life, and the lives of many others she will one day treat.

Charis Spears
Invisible Injury
Original Song

My community partner battles more than one chronic “condition,” but what captured my attention–and wouldn’t let go–were the lingering effects of multiple concussions she suffered surrounding an accident a few years ago. Through it all, of utmost importance to her is that she is not regarded as ill, but rather in the process of  healing. Many find it hard to understand the implications of brain injury. Thus, as she puts it, it is an “invisible injury.” I attempt to convey these struggles, as well as other themes from our discussions and original poetry she shared with me, in the form of a song written from her perspective. As she and I are both singers, I find this a fitting medium. Through my music, I hope to remind everyone that, although her brain still does not function the way it used to, she is the same, beautiful person inside her not-yet-healed body.

Charis has always had a love for music and began writing songs in early childhood. Over the years, she has experimented with multiple genres and styles, but has always endeavored to incorporate interesting melodies and lyric simplicity in her songs. Upon leaving Atlanta, GA for university, she took advantage of opportunities to grow in her songwriting and singing skills in Nashville, TN, also known as Music City. Her time in Nashville allowed her to explore her identity as an artist. These days, she is inspired by faith, love, and life’s difficulties and enjoys telling those stories through her music.

Lauren Sweet
Digital Interactive

This piece explores the nature of psychiatric illness— specifically, schizophrenia— with auditory hallucinations. The idea of the piece is to disembody and disturb the viewer by providing multiple sources of sensory stimulation that clash with one another. To this end, the viewer sees both their reflection and the inside of their brain,  reflecting their reality and self-perception versus the underlying biology that moves with them as they navigate what they perceive. Similarly, the recording of auditory hallucinations is meant to not only simulate what a schizophrenic patient might experience, but also induce a sense of intrusion and distraction into the mind of the viewer. In hindering their ability to interpret and analyze, the piece aims to take away some of their control over their own thoughts. The whole piece is meant to give the viewer a sense of isolation and confusion that mimics the altered reality of the ill.

Lauren is a second-year medical student who also happens to love the arts. In her free time she draws, paints, photographs and designs laser cut art. In any free time left (ha), she enjoys training for triathlons. She's relatively new to coding, and relished the challenges this project posed. She hopes to eventually work in global health on infectious disease. Mental health and health policy are passions of hers and she looks forward to continuing her work in these areas.

Safa Kaleem
Path to the Sea
Acrylic on Canvas

This piece is meant to depict my community partner’s journey with Crohn’s Disease. She was diagnosed at a relatively young age, but her poise and grace in dealing with her illness throughout her life are truly inspiring. She strives to see the best of things in life and makes it a point to not let her disease define her. She loves to  travel, and though she has to make arrangements due to her disease, her favorite place to go is the beach; she has a deep love for nature. The seaside and surrounding foliage represent not only her love of the outdoors, but also her resilience and growth. The somewhat cobblestoned path to the sea is meant to represent the  highs and lows of her disease as well as the biological processes involved. This work attempts to encapsulate her drive and optimism, but also the hardship that her diagnosis brings.

Safa is a second-year medical student at the Duke University School of Medicine. She also attended Duke University for her undergraduate education. She has always had painting and art as her hobbies and is glad to be able to integrate her love of medicine with her creative side.

Sruti Pisharody

Sruti Pisharody is an MS2 with a passion for finding beauty and truth in the world. She first started making photos three years ago when she studied ecology in South Africa. She had always preferred wildlife and nature photography, but has recently begun to explore telling storytelling through photography and is inspired by  photojournalists and conflict photographers of the past and present. While working with the subjects of this project, she began to consider and investigate photography as a form of service. This is her first attempt to make photographs with the intent to produce and display a cohesive series.


A set of poems portrays three different perceptions of a 95-year-old man, Mr. Ned Arnett, through poetry. One of the poems is by Shan McBurney-Lin, a medical student who got to know Mr. Arnett over the course of three meetings. Her poem highlights a favorite moment of hers from her initial conversations with Mr. Arnett.  Three of the poems are by Alex Hish, another medical student. These three poems, one written after each meeting, chronicle not only Alex’s changing perception of Mr. Arnett over time, but also Mr. Arnett’s changing status of health. Four of the poems are by Mr. Arnett himself, reproduced with his permission. Each was chosen to provide Mr. Arnett’s own perspective on the subjects dealt with in Shan and Alex’s poems. Together, the poems are meant to paint a picture of Mr. Arnett—in illness, in health, and in life.

Alexander HIsh
Three Meetings
Poetry with live reading

Alex is a medical student at Duke University. He enjoys running, watching movies, and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Ted Arnett
Poetry with live reading

Ned Arnett has spent a happy professional career as Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and Duke. He started writing poems about fifteen years ago when he retired. His wife, Sylvia, is a professional violinist, and he raised a family of five boys. He and his wife live happily in The Forest at Duke, a wonderful  community.

Shan McBurney-Lin
Under the Laundry List
Poetry with live reading

Shan is a medical student at Duke who frequently wishes she could have more of Mr. Arnett’s sage thoughts to guide her through her own laundry lists.

The exhibition is supported by the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine in partnership with the Center for Documentary Studies and the Health Humanities Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

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