“It’s meant to be an oasis. Since most of what we were seeing online and in the news is negative, we have kept the tone of ourbreakroom.org positive and hopeful,” Dr. Kowalsky says.
“Ourbreakroom.org has provided a welcome respite from the brutal daily reality of the pandemic,” says Dr. Josyann Abisaab, assistant attending physician in Emergency Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and a contributor to the site. “After a long and grueling shift, where fear, loss, and fatigue were prevalent, reading an inspirational poem or listening to melodious music helped restore mental grit.”
Over the past year, ourbreakroom.org also proved to be a safe haven for those who needed it as the country grappled with a national reckoning on race, publishing personal essays like the one by Dr. Abisaab about COVID-19 and racism and highlighting anti-hate work by Black artists, such as Maya Angelou’s “A Brave and Startling Truth.”
“We want to respond to whatever is on everybody’s minds when they walk into work. So when there was the killing of George Floyd, we began talking about issues of racism and the importance of being anti-racist,” Dr. Kowalsky says.
Now, in the face of a second wave of COVID-19 cases during a pandemic winter — and as they await a broader rollout of the coronavirus vaccine — the doctors hope that ourbreakroom.org becomes an added resource that will help others cope.
“This is a forum for anyone to visit. I share it with friends and family, not only with physicians,” Dr. Platt says. “Ourbreakroom.org is meant to be a soothing, therapeutic, and comforting place where people can find shared experiences.”