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Names Matter

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

This is part of the Medical Humanities series on Op-Med, which showcases creative work by Doximity members. Do you have a creative work related to your medical practice that you’d like to share? Send it to us here.

Dear University administrator,
My legal name is spelled Yuemei, like the moon or joy,
Not Yumei, like jade or rain.
It is only 6 letters, shorter than “Jessica.”
It is right in my email signature and on all your rosters and lists.
I appreciate your reply to my email, but you spelled my name wrong.
Dear OR staff,
My Chinese name is pronounced yu-eh may, like a beautiful rose,
Not yu mi, like an ear of corn.
I don’t mind you mispronouncing it the first time,
But I mind the next five when I’ve repeatedly asked you to call me Amy,
While you keep asking me to say 悦玫 again,
So you can keep trying and butchering my beautiful name.
Amy means “beloved,” and my parents chose it for me with care.
Would you reject a white man’s nickname like this?
Dear attending,
I’m not Sharon or Sheryl or Shuhong.
“It’s Amy.”
“Who cares?”
I do.
We have different faces, eyes, heights.
We verify patients’ identities and wristbands so often.
Our names matter, too.

What was your inspiration?

I personally experienced a university admin spelling my name wrong again, and it's frustrating because it's a 6-letter name. However, my frustration is at the fact that this keeps happening over and over again, which is what makes microaggressions so insidious- their effects are cumulative.

How long have you been writing? What got you started?

I started writing as a creative outlet in 2020. It happened as the pace of my life slowed down with the COVID-19 pandemic and I had time to actually process my feelings and thoughts and get them down on paper.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your involvement in or views on arts in medicine?

I think the arts are so important in medicine. Artistic expression helps all of us get outside ourselves and appreciate another person’s perspective.

Yuemei (Amy) Zhang is a resident physician in anesthesiology at the University of Washington and president of the Resident and Fellow Physician Union - Northwest (RFPU-NW). She is first-generation/low-income (FGLI), attended Harvard for undergrad with a need-based scholarship, and graduated from Yale with joint MD and MBA degrees.

Illustration by April Brust

All opinions published on Op-Med are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of Doximity or its editors. Op-Med is a safe space for free expression and diverse perspectives. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email

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