I’m looking at the photograph of a five-year-old girl, her big brown eyes a window into her childlike innocence. She’s wearing a shirt that is two sizes too big and a frown. The setting seems to be a small room with walls made of bamboo. A simple piece of paper in front of her reads, “fever and cough for three days and discharge from the left. PE- left ear TM red. Diagnosis: Otitis Media.” The photograph is titled, “Finding Normal Within the Abnormal.”

This image is striking for many reasons. I see the juxtaposition of a typical diagnosis in childhood with an atypical setting. I think about the subject, an innocent-five-year-old girl in a refugee camp, and the emotions her face conveys. Finally, I feel inspired by the image and a call to service. This thought-provoking piece was taken not by a professional photographer, but by a pediatrician who has paused to reflect and brought humanism to her work.


  1. Van Doren V, Henry T. Draining the pool: Our Collective responsibility to end racism in medicine. SGIM Forum. https://connect.sgim.org/sgimforum/viewdocument/draining-the-pool-our-collective. 43(10):6-7. Published October 2020. Accessed June 15, 2021.



Advocacy, Medical Education, Medical Ethics, SGIM, Social Determinants of Health, Wellness

Author Descriptions

Dr. Jani (sjjani@usf.edu) is a fellow in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida. She is an inaugural SGIM Forum associate member associate editor.