Sunita Puri with Oliver de la Paz
Sunita Puri discusses her book, That Good Night, with Worcester Poet Laureate, Oliver de la Paz
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 5:30pm
A profound exploration of what it means for all of us to live—and to die—with dignity and purpose. —People
Visceral and lyrical. —The Atlantic
As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Between days spent waiting for her mother, an anesthesiologist, to exit the OR, and evenings spent in conversation with her parents about their faith, Puri witnessed the tension between medicine's impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual embrace of life's temporality. And it was that tension that eventually drew Puri, a passionate but unsatisfied medical student, to palliative medicine--a new specialty attempting to translate the border between medical intervention and quality-of-life care.
Interweaving evocative stories of Puri's family and the patients she cares for, That Good Night is a stunning meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well, arming readers with information that will transform how we communicate with our doctors about what matters most to us.
In September 2022, Dr. Sunita Puri became the new Program Director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center & Chan School of Medicine, where she is also a new associate professor of clinical medicine. A graduate of Yale University, she completed medical school and residency training in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco followed by fellowship training in palliative medicine at Stanford.
She is the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.
In 2018, she was awarded the Etz Chaim Tree of Life Award from the USC School of Medicine, awarded annually to a member of the faculty who, in the eyes of the campus community, models and provides humanistic and compassionate care. She has taught medical memoir and literary nonfiction to medical students and residents, and has delivered talks about palliative medicine, the centrality of narrative and storytelling in medicine, and physician well-being in forums around the world.
Oliver de la Paz is the Poet Laureate of Worcester, MA for 2023-2025. He is the author and editor of seven books: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth, a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry. His newest work, The Diaspora Sonnets, is forthcoming from Liveright Press in 2023. With Stacey Lynn Brown he co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He has received grants from the NEA, NYFA, the Artist’s Trust, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and has been awarded multiple Pushcart Prizes. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.