It is my pleasure to have a photo illustrating medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic published on the cover of the May issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, also known as JAGS. The image features Dr. Stephanie Le in full personal protective equipment (PPE) examining Martin Fox, a resident of The New Jewish Home who kindly volunteered to be photographed. As required during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephanie is wearing an N-95 mask, face shield, and disposable gown and gloves. I wanted this image to reflect the dedication and hard work of nursing home staff during this very stressful and challenging time.
The photo is published in a new section of JAGS entitled “Ars Longa: Humanities and Aging.” The title is from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates who stated, “Ars longa, vita brevis.” This aphorism is translated as “Art is long, life is short,” which reflects the long-lasting impact of art in contrast with the brevity of human life. The Ars Longa section reflects a trend to import the humanities into medical care with the goal of creating more well-rounded clinicians.
The New Jewish Home is a rehabilitation and skilled nursing center located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where I visit as a wound care consultant. I trained here in geriatric medicine back in the 1980’s as part of the Mount Sinai program, and after graduating I worked in the Home’s sister facility in the Bronx as an attending physician.
This is not the first time I published a Jewish Home faculty member on the cover of a medical journal. In 1996 I photographed Dr. Manuel Rodstein for The Gerontologist, the flagship journal of The Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Rodstein served as Director of Medical Research, writing over a hundred papers on geriatric cardiology, and was an inspiring teacher and mentor to me. Dr. Rodstein enjoyed this cover, as it shows him in front of his portrait as a younger physician at the height of his career. This was the first of what was to be over 50 covers shot by me and published on covers of The Gerontologist from 1996 to 2016.
Over the years I photographed hundreds of older adults with the goal of challenging stereotypes while presenting a humanistic perspective of aging and how it impacts the meaning and struggles inherent in the human experience. JAGS has served as the go-to journal at the forefront of aging research since its first edition in 1953 and is one of the oldest and most impactful journals dedicated to gerontology and geriatrics. The new Ars Longa section is meant to showcase cultural and artistic approaches to aging and the care of older people, and I am glad to have my work published in this forum.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *