“Each morning when we’d arrive at the police barricades, people would be standing there with pictures of their loved ones, asking us to look for them,” Susan Diehl says. “Hours later, after a hard shift when we were ready to get back on the shuttle bus, they were still there—waiting for word.”
Marshmallows, gum drops, candy canes and icing are not unusual additions when it comes to the construction of gingerbread houses, but a scene featuring Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, vaccinating Santa Claus was fitting for the peculiar holiday season of 2020. The Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine’s inaugural gingerbread house competition featured Fauci and many references to Mass General, COVID-19 and the current vaccination effort—all created with delicious treats.
Teams and individuals put their confectionary creativity on display, constructing Bulfinch Buildings, North Pole workshops and other holiday homes made out of gingerbread. Each master-crafter submitted a photo of their completed piece, which then was judged by the department’s chief residents. The winner, resident Ashley Ott, MD, was recognized for her stunning piping and frosting finesse. Although she does not have a background in baking, Ott credits her years of baking cookies with her grandmother and “extensive study of The Great British Bake-Off for her success.
“Because I couldn’t be with my family this holiday season, I thought I’d use some of my free time—or actually a lot of it since this took many hours—to try and build something beautiful for the competition,” she says. “Naturally, I attempted to build an Ether Dome, but when I cored out an onion and put it on top, I decided that the smell and tearing eyes significantly reduced the holiday cheer I was feeling, and it was removed.”
Two other sugary shelters were recognized for excellence. The “Bul-Grinch Building” by Elijah Darnell, MD, and Nathan Alhalel, MD, earned second place, and receiving the “Christmas Miracle Award” was Gregory Fricker, MD.
“In a holiday season so different from any that we have known, these imaginative ways of sharing holiday spirit mean so much,” says Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE, physician-in-chief of the Department of Medicine. “These entries have set the bar high for the now annual Department of Medicine Gingerbread House Contest.”
- Aug | 20 | 2021
In 2020, Carr took up running to keep herself both physically and mentally active during the COVID-19 pandemic. She completed her first double digit run—10 miles—on Dec. 31. Six days later, after a routine checkup with her doctor, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Jul | 1 | 2021
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a group of students from Harvard Medical School—led by Dorothy Weiss Tolchin, MD, EdM, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Physical Medicine and...
- Jun | 18 | 2021
Two exceptional employees were honored with this year’s Ricardo Diaz Memorial Award during the celebration, recognizing the hard work, selflessness and compassion reflective of Diaz’s.
- Jun | 18 | 2021
The MGH Virtual Visits Team was honored with the 2020 Nathaniel Bowditch Prize for its quick and innovative work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Jun | 18 | 2021
Not even a global pandemic, with all its difficult diversions and delays, could stop the nurses of Ellison 9 from staying on track with a project timeline they had set before the COVID-19 outbreak.