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Mayo Clinic Health System Healing Reflections Mural

A storytelling collaboration

The Healing Reflections mural focuses on the historic nature of 2020. Those themes are centered on healing, resilience, inclusion, diversity, hope and economic hardship. Thank you to all the story tellers and artists who contributed to this project, which allows healing by gaining insight and understanding to another’s experience, and by validating their own experiences. We invite you to explore and learn more about the artwork, stories, and the humans behind each piece in the mural below.

Collage images of Healing Reflections gallery
Born to Love mixed media artwork created by Tom Burgraff
Born to Love by artist Tom Burgraff
     Chippewa Falls, WI
Story told by Chetna Mangat, M.D.
     Mayo Clinic Health System


COMING SOON! Dr. Mangat's story that inspired Born to Love

Gracefulness artwork
Gracefulness by artist Meira Smit
     Colfax, WI
Story told by Celeana Gibbs, R.N.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

When Mayo Clinic Health System put out a call requesting employees to consider sharing their stories related to diversity and inclusion, I was hesitant. My opinion at the time was that it was not really a problem, and as a mixed woman my own experience had been very positive at Mayo. I listened to the first session and was frankly surprised and disheartened by the volunteer’s experiences with racism...


Read more of Celeana's story that inspired Gracefulness

Crack in Time photograph
Crack in Time by artist Mitchell Spencer
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Jessica Havenor, R.N.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

This summer I had noted the great disparity in staff’s degree of concern over the pandemic, some who were not worried in the slightest and others who were very anxious and worried.  I can confidently say that the surge was the great level-setter.  In our hospital it felt as if we went from having a couple COVID patients to having nearly all COVID patients overnight—it was surreal...


Read more of Jessica's story that inspired Crack in Time

Together, For You by artist Lori Chilefone
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Melissa Larson, R.N.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

As we went through initial rapid change in our practice it was evident how much face-to-face interaction with our patients and their family is appreciated. It showed us how much we value that type of interaction. When posed with trying care in new ways whether it is a modified face-to-face visit or a virtual visit by phone or video, we realized we could still provide care, just not in the same way it was previously done...


Read more of Melissa's story that inspired Together, For You

Under the Same Sun mixed media on wrapped gallery canvas


Under the Same Sun
Story and art by Pa Kou Lee, C.O.A.     
     Mayo Clinic Health System

The nights were getting longer and I could feel myself sinking, struggling to keep my head above the waves of change and my own emotions, and struggling to carry what felt like boulders in my chest. I couldn’t help but cry. It was one more little thing to add to the darkness of 2020, the coming winter nights that seemed to last forever...


Read more of Pa Kou's story and creation of Under the Same Sun

Behind Every Mask mixed media art
Behind Every Mask is a Story by artist Tracy Kennedy
     Mayo Clinic Health System
Stories told by Todd Comstock, R.N.; Celestine Odenigbo, M.D.; and Ivana Federiuk, R.N.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

I chose to paint each story into one painting, because as I listened to each story, I heard one beautiful song. It was not a song meant to be heard as a solo, but a choir, with each story affecting the harmony of Resilience & Hope. We all hold a vital piece to this mosaic which makes tapestry of humanity.  The viewer is aware of how each story is part of the mosaic tapestry...

Read more of the stories that inspired Behind Every Mask is a Story

Real Faces, Real People art on cavas
Cora, Corona, and Care by artist Kathy Schmiedeskamp
     Mayo Clinic Health System
Story told by Cora Smiskey, E.M.T.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

Part of my job in the ER is being the lead tech, which involves working with equipment and supplies. On March 17, 2020 I received a message asking if I could come in the following day to talk about room surging. That was when things started to become real and that maybe something really was going to happen...


Read more of Cora's story that inspired Cora, Corona, and Care

Hope painting of heart butterfly
Stone of Hope by artist Susan Walsh
     Mayo Clinic Health System
Story told by Aimee Nelson, P.A.-C.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

I have a young child who is almost five. At the beginning of the pandemic, he was about four. I work in the emergency room, so we work weekends, nights and holidays. That type of schedule can be challenging any time. During the pandemic, it got much tougher, not knowing what was going to happen and how things would need to be adjusted...


Read more of Aimee's story that inspired A Stone of Hope

Pieces of the Puzzle painting
Pieces of the Puzzle by artist Emma Ozark
     Menomonie, WI
Stories told by Jennifer Johnson, D.O. & Marvin Whitman
     Mayo Clinic Health System

Nurses, doctors, janitors, and other essential medial staff come from all different kinds of backgrounds but still all connect under the common goal of helping others, and thus are important "pieces" to the "puzzle" of the lives of coworkers and patients. Although some pieces are now gone from the puzzle, the memories of those people remain in the hearts of families and caretakers...


Read more of Jennifer and Marvin's stories that inspired Pieces of the Puzzle

A collage of images that are a part of the following collection
Geometric Heart digital art by Brandon Hidaka

Geometric Heart by artist Brandon Hidaka, M.D., Ph.D.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

This geometric-patterned heart reflects the repetitive nature of our COVID days, devoid of milestone celebrations to mark the passage of time. Working from home, weekdays blur into weekends, giving us a Groundhog’s-Day-type feeling...

Healing Reflections: Geometric Heart of Dr. Hidaka's story that inspired Geometric Heart

Together digital art by Claire Dronen

Together by artist Claire Dronen
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Sue Cullinan, M.D.
     Mayo Clinic Health System


COMING SOON! Dr. Cullinan's story that inspired Together

Rioting Realization digital art by Grace McEllistrem

From the News to Your Front Door by artist Grace McEllistrem
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Reggie Estrella, P.T.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

On the night of May 28, 2020, I texted my good friend David and asked if he and his family needed a safe place to stay. David lives in Minneapolis and was somewhat close to the rioting that was occurring following the death of George Floyd. David texted back saying that he was grateful for the offer but felt that the danger was a few miles away and that he and his family would be safe...

Read More of Reggie's story that inspired From the News to Your Front Door

Leading Through Struggle digital art by Henry Loomis

The Poem of the Swallowtail by artist Henry Loomis
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Sandy Dahl, P.A.-C.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

I want to provide some background how COVID relates to me, my background, its impact on a personal level. I am married with two children. One who graduated this year and the other who is a senior and started his first year of college. There have been challenges with graduation and challenges being a freshman in college and having all that excitement pulled out from underneath you...

Read more of Sandy's story that inspired The Poem of the Swallowtail

Empathy digital art by Jenny Lau

Story and art by Jenny Lau, O.D.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

This was a piece to describe the need to help each other. During this time there was a lot of frustration and fear as there was a large trend in hospitalized patients coming into hospitals all around the country. Although a doctor may represent the one who heals, we also need healing ourselves....

Read more of Dr. Lau's story that inspired Empathy

Lung painting on canvas by Krista Holbrook

All Hands In artist Kirsten Holbrook
     Mayo Clinic Health System
Stories told by Respiratory Care Staff
     Mayo Clinic Health System

Where we have found joy in our work is simple to say even though we're going through hardships and losing patients in ways we had never thought would happen. I remember being there while a patient was intubated and being scared for that patient. And then, I remember the day that patient went home...


Read more stories from the Respiratory Care staff that inspired All Hands In

Blue Skies Ahead art by Morgan Depke

Blue Skies Ahead by artist Morgan Depke
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Stephanie Koepp, O.T.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

About a month and a half after COVID-19 began showing up in Wisconsin, I found a lump in my breast during a self-exam. I was seen the same day at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire and had imaging performed. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ and stage IV invasive ductal carcinoma as the cancer was also found in a lymph node on the opposite side of the cancer...

Read more of Stephanie's story that inspired Blue Skies Ahead

The Cloud Emotions of Covid art by Riley Lehman

The Cloud Emotions of Covid by artist Riley Lehman
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Anna Lehman, P.A.-C.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

It’s not hard for any of us to rattle the ways in which COVID-19 has affected our lives; it has not spared anyone.  There are too many ways to count in which I have been frustrated, scared, angry, and annoyed at COVID-19. But, there have also been silver linings, and I’m choosing to focus on those for my reflections...

Read more of Anna's story that inspired The Cloud Emotions of Covid

Mental Health Check digital artwork created by Winter Omodth

Mental Health Check by artist Winter Omodth
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Dan Tainter, R.N.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

As a social individual, diving head first into a pandemic meant more alone time - an unfamiliar concept for me. The lifestyle changes required in the wake of the pandemic has led to less time with friends, less time with family, more time at home, more time in my own head...

Read more of Dan's story that inspired Mental Health Check

Digital art of a gold trapezoid on a deep blue field by Ma Vue


Of Honor and Offerings
Story and art by Ma Vue
     Eau Claire, WI

There are many painful facets to the pandemic that befell us all, but one issue in particular was quite hard to come to terms with as a first generation Hmong-American. Between misinformation of the virus among the Hmoob (Hmong) elders, distrust in the healthcare system and historical factors that disproportionately affect minority communities, the Hmoob community was facing a battle...

Read more of Ma Vue's story that inspired Of Honor and Offerings

Collage of 20 pieces of artwork by Putnam Heights 5th Graders


20 Words for 2020
Putnam Heights Elementary School 5th Graders
     Eau Claire, WI

The thing that hit most was the confusion. Always wearing masks. The disappointment. The sadness.
NEVER take things for granted.


Read more of the Putnam Heights Elementary School 5th Graders' 20 Words for 2020 and a reflection from their teacher, Melissa Greer

Tree of humanity woman by Judy Bucholz
Resilience Out of Oppression by artist Judy Bubolz
     Ladysmith, WI
Story told by Embrace survivors
     Embrace of Northwestern Wisconsin

The roots continue to pull me down, but I will not break, for I am strong. My strength is not a choice; it is my survival. In the eyes of power, I am to blame, but the hands of the system keep me trapped. I am not an animal needing to be caged by force and fear. I am a human being who deserves to blossom.


Read more of the Embrace survivors' story that inspired Resilience Out of Oppression

Watercolor of three women, with the center woman as a masked greeter
Door Screener by artist Janice Theberge
     Boyceville, WI
Story told by Leah Gietman
     Mayo Clinic Health System

It was July of 2020, and I had turned to online school, I hadn’t worked in months, and I hadn’t interacted with anyone besides my family in months. My mom came to me with a job position: “Facilities Access Navigation Specialist,” which meant I would screen patients at the Mayo Clinic doors...


Read more of Leah Gietman's story that inspired Door Screener

Watercolor image of two hands holding a dripping sphere


Hope After Hardship by artist Dejntxhee "DJ" Vang
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Doug Auleta, M.D.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

The COVID-19 Pandemic 2020 was a nightmare lived, hopefully soon forgotten. Hopefully never again. Or is it not so simple? Death and heartache have left scars on our memories and hearts, hopefully diminishing over time but never fully gone...


Read more of Dr. Auleta's story that inspired Hope After Hardship

Painting of a boat in red water heading toward a colorful destination in the distance
Hope After Hardship by artist Elizabeth Coffin
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Pam White, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.-B.C.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

2020 started out with such great intentions and plans. Vacation plans were made, and I even started to plan for 2021 (highly unusual for me). I distinctly remember sitting in a condo on a ski trip and starting to get anxious as I was hearing of the spread and increase of COVID and feeling the desire to get home... 


Read more of Dr. White's story that inspired The Unknown Destination

Ink drawing of a tree through three seasons


Spring Will Come by artist Jenna Paulson
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Taylor Boxx, P.A.-C.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

French philosopher Albert Camus stated, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” COVID brought startling contrasts: fear and joy, suffering and hope, even death and laughter. While COVID caused me worry and grief, it also helped me uncover potential within my family...


Read more of Taylor Boxx's story that inspired Spring Will Come

Watercolor painting of two birds holding each end of a red ribbon


Laughter As Medicine by artist Kiera Ludwigson
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Jim Deming, M.D.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

Did you hear about the guy who got fired from his job at the orange juice factory? He just couldn’t concentrate!
So began our daily “Laughter in Medicine” project last March to help our home health, hospice and palliative care department through the COVID pandemic...


Read more of Dr. Deming's story that inspired Laughter as Medicine

Colorful handprint collage of Menomonie Elementary students


Stories from Students
Wakanda Elementary School 1st Graders
     Menomonie, WI

My mom works at the hospital. She helps other people be safe. My mom had to work more to help people, so she had to be away from home and our family more. I’m proud of my mom for working hard...


Read more of the perspectives of the Wakanda Elementary School 1st Graders

Photo collage of UW-Stout student athletes


Student Athlete Perspectives with photographs by Layne Pitt
UW-Stout Student Athletes Raelin Sorenson, Lucas Carroll, Lexie Wescott, Lauren Mickley, Caylee Boone, and Jackie Bertrand

After training alone for five months at home, I was ready to be back at school with teammates. It was hard when we realized we wouldn't really have anything like normal or be together like we thought. I ended up training most of the fall by myself due to people in quarantine and not having training partners. I was begging to just have one person to practice with...


Read more of the stories of UW-Stout student athletes

Three No.2 pencils stabbing into a clear block of resin
A Teacher's Changing Role During COVID-19 by artist Adia Higbie
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Jessica Severson
     Eau Claire, WI

My current role is 100 percent teaching in a virtual environment to 40 third-grade students in the Eau Claire Area School District. I did not have much time or training to prepare to work in a COVID environment. At the end of summer on the Friday before school was to start on Monday, I was notified my role would be changing from a Reading Intervention Teacher—my role in the spring during shutdown—to a first-grade virtual teacher. The first week of school was a whirlwind attending training and meetings to prepare us for how to teach and meet the needs of 40 students in a virtual environment. On Thursday (Day 4 of planning), student needs changed, and I moved from teaching first grade to third grade...


Read more of Jessica Severson's story that inspired A Teacher's Changing Role During COVID-19

Three profiles of a person with differently-colored contents


Controlling Mindset by artist Halle Buhr
     Menomonie, WI
Story told by Bob Peck, M.D.
     Mayo Clinic Health System

After learning that a person tested positive for COVID-19 in my parent’s hometown, I became acutely aware that this pandemic posed a mortal threat to my colleagues, friends, family and to me. As I thought about the real chances of myself or someone I love dying from this dreadful disease, I began to feel panic. I knew I needed to get a grip on this...


Read more of Dr. Peck's story that inspired Controlling Mindset

Colorful swirls of paint on a canvas
Controlling Mindset by artist Dana Sterzinger
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Jason Craig
     Mayo Clinic Health System

The past year has been the worst, yet most inspiring, of my life. As with so many others, it is challenging to identify the most impactful moments. However, upon reflection, these are the three that best represent the progression of this year through my experiences...


Read more of Jason Craig's story that inspired Hope Spreads

A colorful cut-paper collage of children doing activities


Silver Linings by artist Jeanne Styczinski
     Colfax, WI
Story told by Alayna Martinek
     Eau Claire, WI

My family and I were on a snowboarding trip in Lake Tahoe. We heard there was a big snowstorm coming, and everyone was preparing for it. We were riding up the gondola when my Mom and Dad’s phones started ringing, and it was people telling them schools were closing and there was no toilet paper at the store...


Read more of Alayna Martinek's story that inspired Silver Linings

A cool-toned painted image of a woman's portrait as she breathes in deeply with her head back


COMING SOON! Dr. Tomasz Okon's story that inspired Breathe

A winged brown-skinned woman portrayed as an angel with a deep read beating heart
Giselle by artist Tanya Meyer
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by David Carlson
     Eau Claire, WI

have a large family. Among my siblings and I, we count that our father had over 20 children, but there are only ten of us who feel like we are one family. I should say nine, because our oldest sister Giselle died last February. Giselle’s nickname was Gigi. It was our term of affection for our eldest sister who, like the rest of us, had been offered little in life but somehow always managed to create abundance from scarcity...


Read more of David Carlson's story that inspired Giselle

A watercolor painting of a man on the phone and multiple priorities coming from the top of his open head


Bedside Manner by artist Shelby Wille
     Eau Claire, WI
Story told by Anonymous
     Mayo Clinic Health System


I work on the inpatient Medical Surgical floor – the one deemed “The COVID Unit.” When Mayo started preparing for an influx of COVID patients, our unit changed drastically. The south tower was transformed into the hospital’s COVID Unit so the negative pressure air rooms could be utilized. The first week this happened, there was an eerie kind of calm on the floor...


Read more of the story from the COVID Unit that inspired Bedside Manner

For more information about the Healing Reflections gallery or to get involved with the project, contact Sara Martinek.

Special thanks to members of the Healing Reflections Steering Committee:
     Todd Wright, M.D. | Orthopedic Surgery | Committee Chair
     Sara Martinek | Patient Experience | Administrative Lead
     Lori Haapala | Public Affairs
     Janelle Potter | Integrity and Compliance
     Jill Depke | Specialty Care
     Leonard Ezenagu, M.D. | Obstetrics and Gynecology
     Tracy Kennedy | Spiritual Care
     Michele Eberle | Administration
     Cindy Ming | Administration

Gordon Howie | Facilities Services
Robert Peck, M.D. | Psychiatry
Tina Tharp | Community Engagement and Wellness
Karen Myhre, M.D. | Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
Jodi Dotseth | Rehabilitation Services
Terri Luke | Medical-Surgical
Amy Schneider | Medical-Surgical
Patricia Kleine, Ph.D. | Provost at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Sarah Tweedale | University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire