"The Before and After"

Journal of General Internal Medicine, April 2020

We sit at grouped desks, eyes on blinking green pagers then back to bright screens. It’s now the last year of my residency, and I’m admitting and cross-covering patients on night shift. Just as I finish putting in orders from a consultant, my pager buzzes with an admission. I call the Emergency Medicine resident.

“Room 631,” he says. “She’s a 67-year-old female with previous MI, diabetes, and tobacco use. Presented after a low-impact motor vehicle accident. It was a hit and run, those bastards. Anyway, Trauma cleared her, but she still has some chest pain. Needs a cardiac work-up. Her CT chest and abdomen are pending.” More

"In the Valley"

Journal of General Internal Medicine, January 2021

“Mommy, will you sing the valley song?” my three-year-old daughter asks. We came across this folk song a few months ago, and it has become one of her favorite lullabies. She is curled up next to me on her bed. 


“Down in the valley, valley so low,” I begin singing. 


“Hold me,” she says, and I wrap my arm around her. The soft light illuminates her nose, her round cheeks. It reminds me of the nights I crept into her room after a long shift, peering through the crib slats to watch her sleep. Now in the final months of my residency, I see the immense growth in us both. More

"What She Carried"

Gold Humanism website, as part of the first cohort of the Gold Writing Workshop, February 2021


Julie carried the news of two diagnoses, coming just weeks after burying her son: Multiple myeloma and amyloidosis were the unfamiliar words that finally explained her decline. She first welcomed the diagnosis, then despaired.


In her black shoulder bag, she carried the bills of two other hospital visits, as well as Zofran, Compazine, and Phenergan. The medications were not enough to quell her nausea. It was only the tube connecting nose to stomach that provided solace—an outlet backward when nothing in her small bowel advanced forward. More




Nguyen R, Vater LB, Timsina L, Durm G, Rupp K, Wright K, Spitznagle M, Paul B, Jalal S, Carter-Harris L, Hudmon KS, Hanna N, Loehrer P, Ceppa D. Impact of smoke-free ordinance strength on smoking prevalence and lung cancer incidence. PLOS ONE. 2021; 16(4): e0250285. More

Lipitz-Snyderman A, Vater LB, Curry M, Li D, Rubin D, Radzyner M, Duck E, Bach P, Schenker Y. Cancer hospital advertising and outcomes: Trust the messenger? Lancet Oncology. 2019; 20(6):760-762. More

Vater LB, Donohue JM, Arnold R, White DB, Chu E, Schenker Y. What are cancer centers advertising to the public? A content analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014;160(12): 813-20. More

Vater LB, Donohue JM, Park SY, Schenker Y. Trends in cancer center spending on advertising in the United States, 2005 to 2014. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2016;176(8): 1214-16. More


Vater LB, Rebesco G, Schenker Y, Torke A, Gramelspacher G. Palliative care content on cancer center websites. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2018;26(3):1005-11. More

Zgibor JC, Schlenk EA, Vater LB, Kola S, Vander Bilt J, Woody S, Jacob M, Lo-Ciganic WH, Brenckle A, Bradenstein J, Kwoh K, Boudreau R, Albert S, Conroy M, Newman AB. Partnership building of an integrated healthy-aging program. Progress in Community Health Partnerships. 2016; 10(1): 123-32. More


Maciasz RM, Arnold RM, Chu E, Park SY, White DB, Vater LB, Schenker Y. Does it matter what you call it? A randomized trial of language used to describe palliative care services. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2013;21(12): 3411-19. More

Kutkut I, Vater LB, Goldman M, Czader M, Swenberg J, Fulkerson Z, Mehta R. Thrombocytopenia and disseminated histoplasmosis in immunocompetent adults. Clinical Case Reports. 2017;5(12): 1954-60. More


Shin J, Epperson K, Yanjanin NM, Albus J, Borgenheimer L, Bott N, et al. Defining natural history: assessment of the ability of college students to aid in characterizing clinical progression of Niemann-Pick disease, type C. PLoS One. 2011;6(10): e23666. More