When you work at an academic medical center like Upstate, health care is always on your mind, even if you’re on vacation. Should you find yourself in Italy, you will inevitably learn of the country’s medical history and current health care system, in between sips of cappuccino.
Stop by the Vatican Museum in Rome and you’ll find marble sculptures of Asclepius, Greek God of medicine. He holds a snake wrapped around a staff, the same healthcare symbol you’ll find on the seal of Upstate Medical University.
Walk through the streets of Rome or Florence, and it won’t take long to hear the distinctive “HEE, HAW” siren of an ambulance trying to maneuver through streets packed with tiny cars and motor scooters. Stop by Rome’s Piazza Navona and you’ll find an ambulance, parked and ready for anyone in need of medical help.
Travel to Venice, the city of canals and narrow brick alleyways, and you’ll wonder how EMTs get to patients. Look in the water, and you’ll see that Venice has boats that serve as ambulances. Check out the Carnivale masks found in gift shops and hunt for the long-beaked versions. Those are doctors’ masks originally worn during the plagues of the 17th century.
Enjoy unusual and artistic images of medicine? No need to hop on a plane. Just stop by Upstate’s Health Sciences Library. Among its Historical Collections you’ll find a series of antique illustrations that show physicians from the Roman Empire through the Napoleanic era.