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  • AAST "UnMasked": The Unasked Questions and Untold Stories of the Pandemic

  • AAST UnMasked’s mission is to preserve and share surgeons’ stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.  We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations and future physicians and surgeons confronted with a national crisis.

    Practical Tips for an Interview

    The best interviews will be between two people who share some sort of connection.  The interviews are meant to be a conversation between two people about a shared topic or experience.  For those not familiar with the idea behind Story Corp An Introduction to StoryCorps from our Founder, Dave Isay - YouTube  and a TED Talk: 


    • Plan questions and share ahead of time
    • Ask warm-up questions (“Can you describe the first time we met?”, etc)
    • Ask open-ended questions
    • Ask follow-up questions (“How did that make you feel?” or “And then what happened?” or “What were you thinking in that moment?”)
    • Think of it as a conversation
    • Tell a story (about your interviewee, your favorite shared memory, etc)
    • Set up context (“Who was such and such person and what did they mean to you?”)
    • Encourage vivid details
    • Plan some reflective questions (wait until there are 5-10 minutes left and then ask “What legacy would you like to leave?” or “What advice would you give to someone else in your shoes?”)
    • Relax and be yourself

    Sample questions

    Interviews should be ~ 20 minutes

    Intro (aim for 2-3 questions)

    1. How would you describe me? How would you describe yourself?
    2. What is your first memory of me?
    3. What are you most proud of?
    4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

    Body of interview (aim for 4-6 questions)

    1. Tell me a moment someone’s kindness made a difference.
    2. What is the toughest part of your day? The best?
    3. What is the biggest loss you experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    4. List 3 words or feelings that describe the pandemic for you.
    5. What has the COVID-19 pandemic given you? Taken from you?
    6. Tell me about your first COVID-19 patient you treated. How did you feel?
    7. What have you learned from this experience? How has this experience changed you?
    8. When in life have you felt most alone?
    9. Did you feel vulnerable during the pandemic and can you describe that situation?
    10. Can you describe your worst moment of the pandemic?
    11. Has your relationship with your family changed during/because of the pandemic and if so, how?

    Conclusion (aim for 2-3 questions)

    1. Where will you be in 10 years? 20 years?
    2. When this period of time gets written down in history books, what do you think will be the highlights? Lowlights?
    3. If you could do anything now, what would you do and why?
    4. What did you learn about medicine – our field, culture – during the pandemic?

    To record your interview, visit:

    Join Zoom Meeting 

    Meeting ID: 567 209 5419
    Passcode: AAST2022

    Or, call in

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