Wrapping up 2023

DOs and DO students on The DO’s advisory board share their fave books, movies, food and more from 2023

If you’ll have time off for the holidays and could use ideas for entertainment, cooking and stress relief, this article has many great options that are recommended by your peers.


As the year comes to a close, we asked our editorial advisory board members to share their favorite books, entertainment, stress relievers and more from 2023. Read on to find out what your peers recommend in these areas.

The DO’s editorial advisory board includes 39 DOs, residents and medical students who help The DO’s editor-in-chief, Vania Manipod, DO, and The DO staff decide on topics for our publication, provide reviews for medical accuracy and share feedback on what readers are interested in.

Below, see what our board was loving in 2023!

Books: What we’re reading

  • “The Housemaid’s Secret” by Freida McFadden (Kasia Marciniec, DO)
  • I am currently reading “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. The story is about the societal and familial struggles and inequalities women faced at home and in the workplace in the 1950s and 60s. It has been adapted into a TV series on Apple TV+. (Alyssa Cole, DO)
  • “Ephemera: A Memoir,” by Briana Loewinsohn (Sydney LeFay, DO)
  • “The Covenant of Water,” by Abraham Verghese (Jerry Balentine, DO)
  • “Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity,” by Bill Gifford and Peter Attia—if you haven’t already read this, you should (Tristan Hazebrook, OMS IV)
  • “Rebecca,” by Daphne du Maurier has got to be my favorite of all time. It was the first gothic novel that opened me up to the fascinations of symbolism in literature. While reading it, I felt very connected to the characters, like I was building unspoken friendships with them. (Stephanie Lee, OMS IV)
  • MKSAP ACP 19 2023 update (seriously though, I do hope to start reading again after I graduate residency) (David Shumway, DO)
  • “The First Ladies,” by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. This book was about a friendship between two extraordinary women: first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights advocate and educator Mary McLeod Bethune. It showed that the bonds between extraordinary women in extraordinary circumstances, as they both were, still comes down to humans caring for each other. (Jeanne Sandella, DO)

TV and movies: What we watched

  • “Barbie” (Kasia Marciniec, DO)
  • I’ve been binging the Hulu series, “Only Murders in the Building” (Deanah Jibril, DO)
  • “Barbie”—I grew up with Barbie and love how diverse and inclusive the brand has become. With different professions, cultures and representations, Barbie truly embodies the message that with a dream and a little imagination, you can be anything! (Alyssa Cole, DO)
  • “Love at First Sight” on Netflix (Aerial Petty, DO)
  • “Nimona” on Netflix (Sydney LeFay, DO)
  • Could it be anything but “Barbie”??? (Jerry Balentine, DO)
  • “Oppenheimer”—so good! (Tristan Hazebrook, OMS IV)
  • “The Little Mermaid” and “Barbie.” I grew up loving Disney because I felt the movies left me with so much hope. I loved “Barbie” for the message it shared about learning to find yourself through the illusions of life (Stephanie Lee, OMS IV)
  • “Elemental” was awesome and captured some of the old-school Pixar magic (David Shumway, DO)

Food: What we ate

  • Pepperoni and honey pizza from Walker Homestead Winery in Iowa City, Iowa (Kasia Marciniec, DO)
  • Microwave peanut brittle—it’s addicting! (Deanah Jibril, DO)
  • Pearl couscous salad—it’s quick, easy, inexpensive, healthy, filling and delicious. (Alyssa Cole, DO)
  • Chocolate chip banana bread (Aerial Petty, DO)
  • Vegan mushroom risotto (Sydney LeFay, DO)
  • I started adding rosemary and/or chive to hamburger recipes. I’m also partial to my wife’s paella (Jerry Balentine, DO)
  • Eggplant parmesan—somewhat healthy and super comforting! (Tristan Hazebrook, OMS IV)
  • Vegetable lentil soup and chocolate-covered frozen raspberries and peanut butter (Stephanie Lee, OMS IV)
  • My British wife’s genuine northern UK pub fry-up (David Shumway, DO)
  • My favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs. This is a simple dish that, if done well, is like a big hug. It’s great with a fresh Caesar salad, garlic bread and a smooth Cabernet (Jeanne Sandella, DO)

Best stress relievers

  • Taking a walk along the Iowa River Trail (Kasia Marciniec, DO)
  • Pottery! I love how it uses the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. With earth as clay, water to guide it, air to form it and fire to solidify it, pottery is more than art alone. As a DO, I’ve also noticed similarities between performing osteopathic manipulations and molding clay. It reminds me of just how much power we have at our fingertips: to heal, shape, center and support. (Alyssa Cole, DO)
  • Reading! (Aerial Petty, DO)
  • Taking dance classes (Sydney LeFay, DO)
  • Working on my farm and playing with my goats (Jerry Balentine, DO)
  • Bubble baths, preferably with a bath bomb, a face mask and a freshly lit candle (Tristan Hazebrook, OMS IV)
  • These come to mind: soulful friendships, boxing, swimming, hiking, meditation and writing (Stephanie Lee, OMS IV)
  • I recently picked up the ukulele and sometimes take it to the hospital atrium to play. Otherwise, a good corgi belly rub. (David Shumway, DO)
  • Music is my best stress reliever—sometimes just listening, and sometimes turning it up and singing along. Music can transport you to a place and time when you first heard the song, or just make your mind reset its pace. (Jeanne Sandella, DO)

Biggest accomplishments

  • I was accepted for a medical media rotation with ABC in NYC! (Kasia Marciniec, DO)
  • I earned C-suite spots at two health care organizations. Only 12% of CEOs are women! (Deanah Jibril, DO)
  • I became associate program director (APD) for my physical medicine and rehabilitation program—it’s been a long process from intern to resident to fellow to attending physician. I’m excited to give back as APD and help shape the future of my medical specialty by training and educating our resident physicians. (Alyssa Cole, DO)
  • Being accepted into the AOA TIPS Program (Aerial Petty, DO)
  • I won the Samaritan Health Services Psychiatry Residency Teacher of the Year award (Sydney LeFay, DO)
  • I was appointed permanent executive vice president and provost at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM). We also built a new frog pond on our farm. (Jerry Balentine, DO)
  • Receiving the Illinois Psychiatric Society’s Medical Student of the Year award (Tristan Hazebrook, OMS IV)
  • Presenting my work on large language model artificial intelligence at OMED, graduating from the TIPS program and participating in the AOA Leadership Academy (David Shumway, DO)
  • I was involved with doing osteopathic clinical skills pilots at four colleges of osteopathic medicine with a project called the Core Competency Capstone for DOs (C3DO). I am proud of our profession—that we continue to try and do better, to hold ourselves to the highest standard for our patients. (Jeanne Sandella, DO)

Related reading:

11 great holiday gifts for doctors and med students in 2023

How I boxed my way through boards

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