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Emily Silverman

Emily Silverman is an internal-medicine physician at UCSF, writer, and creator of The Nocturnists, an award-winning medical storytelling program that has uplifted the voices of more than 450 clinicians since 2016 through its podcast and sold-out live performances. Her work has been supported by MacDowell and published in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, JAMA, CHEST, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and McSweeney’s. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter. 


Best Practices

Fall 2023 | Reporting

How doctors across the country—fed up, burned-out, and disillusioned—are trying to reclaim the soul of medicine.


Illustration by Nazila Jamalifard

COVID Dreams

Spring 2022 | Columns

I used to have these dreams all the time when I was a kid about my teeth falling out. Or I would reach into my mouth and pull them out. But I hadn’t had them for a decade or two, until last week, when I woke up to get ready for my shift as a COVID resuscitation nurse and realized that I had dreamed about my teeth.


December 3, 2020 | Essays

I can’t tell you why I rented the theater downtown, other than that it was inevitable, like the notes of a song. Facing the rows of empty velvet seats, I felt the thrust of potential. At night, doctors stood on stage telling stories—not of helicopter rides and loss of blood, but of waffling, of wanting, of grappling with themselves. The audience arrived like spirits, craving not entertainment but something more fundamental and urgent. I sat backstage, eyes closed, living and dying in every pause, every ripple of laughter. This—a live storytelling event by those in health care, for those in health care—was the first thing I had ever originated, one that came from the roiling place inside of me and not a script.