Lena Deb from Arts and Medicine

The next spotlight in the #HumansofGUSOM series is on the co-president of Arts and Medicine, Lena Deb. 

Growing up in a household with two physicians sparked Lena’s interest in medicine from an early age. “My parents are physicians so it’s like I grew up knowing about medicine and being in a medical household.” However, what really drew Lena into medicine was the opportunity to experience humanity in such a unique way. “You see people at very extreme points in their lives and you could be a really crucial person to help them through really tough times. I found that to be a major attractive part of medicine because you get to have some really deep conversations and experience the most intense moments, both happiness and sadness.”

Lena went to Georgetown University for her undergraduate education and was accepted to the Georgetown School of Medicine through the Early Assurance Program. One big attraction of this program was the continuation of Jesuit values in her curriculum. “From my experience as a patient, I really benefited from arts programming and addressing mental health and feeling like I wish doctors would treat me more like a person and not a set of symptoms… I really like the idea of Cura Personalis, or being trained with the intention of becoming a doctor who is sympathetic to the whole patient experience.” 

Lena knew she wanted to become involved in Arts and Medicine even before she became a medical student at GUSOM. “It just seemed like a really welcoming and approachable community where you could feel like you were doing something that would make people happy”, she recalled. Although the organization is called Art and Medicine, she emphasized that no previous artistic experience is necessary. “I’m not super musically talented or artistically talented…I don’t think anyone would describe me that way”, she laughed. Arts and Medicine also has many events for their members to unwind and connect, such as an open night mic and a talent show. Lena especially appreciates these events, because she realizes how consuming medical school can be and how much pressure there is to make every extracurricular related to residency applications. “It’s really hard when your entire identity is tied up with being a doctor and just being in medicine…I think taking that break and stepping back to focus on well-being is important.”

One of her biggest achievements after getting accepted into medical school is taking time to focus on herself and her well-being. “I’ve seen some of my friends developed health problems because of the stress that they are feeling right now. Taking the time to say I’m more than just a Med student and putting time towards those interests is important.” Lena suggests one way to do this is to “look at things that you’re already drawn to naturally and then just figure out how to incorporate it into your life more.” No matter what it is, Lena stressed the importance of finding some sort of outlet. “It’s important to have something that’s just for you and not something that you’re going to be writing on a resume or for anyone else.”