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Full description for Being There

  • "Being There" is a collection of photographic portraits of, and interviews with, NYU medical students who volunteered in the New York City Medical Examiner's morgue following 9/11, conducted by Barry Goldstein, and with a foreword by Charles Hirsch M.D., the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York, who ran the massive effort to identify remains. Within 24 hours of the attacks, a complex of tents and refrigerated trucks appeared on 30th St. and 1st Ave, adjacent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). This makeshift compound housed the temporary morgues that would receive human remains recovered from Ground Zero. Approximately twenty NYU medical students volunteered to work alongside the understaffed OCME, sorting, cataloguing, and identifying human remains. Most of these students had been in medical school for only a few weeks. In June of 2002, Dr. Goldstein photographed and interviewed the volunteers, asking them to describe what they did, what they would remember, how they coped, and how they were changed by the experience. Barry M. Goldstein is associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics, and associate professor of medical humanities at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and adjunct professor of humanism in medicine at NYU School of Medicine. He was Artist-in-Residence at the NYU School of Medicine during the 2001-2002 academic year.