For the Medical Community

My Foreign Cities explores terrain that is timely to those in medicine and public health. It provides a window into the patient’s experience, but more, it chronicles the relationship between practitioners and patients, reminding doctors and nurses of the crucial nature of their work. It offers insight into subjects such as the transition to adulthood, pain management, transplantation, end-of-life care, and medical ethics as they play out on the frontiers of modern medicine.

 Elizabeth Scarboro has spoken with doctors, nurses, and other care providers about topics including the transition to adulthood, illness-related depression and substance addiction, and anticipatory grief. She has addressed the doctor-patient relationship, and the way her experience fits into the larger context of the current state of health care.  Her recent essay, The Anatomy of a Good Doctor, pays tribute to one of her favorite doctors, and considers the conditions doctors need in order to be able to do their best work.



“Elizabeth Scarboro’s My Foreign Cities is much more than an engaging read. It offers something special to doctors, nurses, and anyone who has or is caring for someone with a serious illness: an inspiring but never sentimental, behind-the-scenes look at how two young people and their families not only coped but managed to live full and meaningful lives despite the intrusions of an eventually fatal disease and our at once wonderful and challenging health care system.”

 Louise Aronson, MD, author of A History of the Present Illness, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF)


“My Foreign Cities: A Memoir should be required reading for every physician who works with adolescents or young adults. In beautiful prose, Elizabeth Scarboro tells the story of falling in love with her high school sweetheart who happened to have cystic fibrosis. The memoir captures the ordinary and extraordinary of the friendship and marriage that grew in the shadow of a life shortening disease and ended with an untimely death.  As a child psychiatrist with thirty years of experience caring for families living with medical illness, I am struck by the power of this personal story and the way it enriches understanding and fosters empathy for the many individuals and families that live with similar challenges.”

 Paula K. Rauch, M.D., Marjorie E. Korff Parenting At a Challenging Time (PACT) Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital



 “I would highly recommend this book to public health professionals, clinicians, patients, and caregivers.  While some parts are heartbreaking, the theme of resilience dominates.  We also get an inside view to patients and caregivers that should help us think about access to health care, quality of life, and the empowerment of patients.”  Full review

Leah Roman, Pop Health