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  • Writer's pictureAndrea L Merrill

Andrea Merrill: Writer and Photographer

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

I am a surgical oncologist who specializes in breast and endocrine surgery in Boston, MA.

Outside of the OR I have a passion for food, photography, and writing. I have always loved using my creative side and from a young age took art classes like pottery and oil painting, although was never that talented in those areas. In high school I dabbled in black and white photography and learned how to process my own prints. I found that I loved trying to perfectly capture a moment in time and edit it the way I remembered it. Photography gave way to other interests and time commitments in college and medical school but I picked it up again during my research time in residency, this time with digital photography. I took a few classes but was mostly self-taught. Most of my photography was for my now defunct food blog but I was lucky to be hired for shoots at several favorite local Boston restaurants such as Uni, Toro, Coppa, Alden and Harlow, Bar Mezzana, and Little Donkey. Most of my photography now is for fun when I travel on vacation.

My other creative outlet these days is narrative writing. I have always loved the storytelling side of medicine and how we can connect with our patients and colleagues through sharing glimpses into our lives. As physicians, we are privileged to have a unique lens into human nature that many don’t have. With this privilege, also comes the burden of carrying and processing many emotions, as we experience both our patients’ and our own triumphs and failures. I have found that writing about these experiences not only helps me process my own emotions, but also opens up a dialogue and allows others to be comfortable sharing their stories and struggles. Last year I published Free Solo Surgery about the anxiety and struggle that comes with being a new surgery attending. I am continuing my narrative writing journey this year with the Harvard Medicine and Media Certificate program and hope to continue to share my experiences through writing with others.

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