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In 2021, STAT’s contributing photographers found themselves on the frontlines of the pandemic once again. That meant documenting devastating stories as Covid wreaked havoc across the world. But it also meant picturing hope as new vaccines and treatment emerged.

At the same time, the year was about far more than the pandemic. There has been promising new research, including some that could offer a brighter future to patients with rare disease like Mateo Solorzano, seen above. There have been leaders pushing to make health care a just space, like Augustus White, a barrier-breaking physician who was Stanford’s first Black medical student. And, even in the midst of Covid, there have been stories of resilience in some of the country’s most vulnerable communities, as documented by Bethany Mollenkof.

Below is a selection of our favorite STAT photographs of patients, providers, technology, and medicine from 2021.


Statistical epidemiologist Elle Lett at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, from ‘Health equity tourists’: How white scholars are colonizing research on health disparities Hannah Yoon for STAT
Funeral - glades
Family and friends arrive at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Belle Glade, Fla., for the funeral of Daisy Pace, who died from Covid-19, from A community pioneer lost, and remembered Bethany Mollenkof for STAT
Kate SMA
Kate Brown, 3, (center), plays with her siblings Amelia, 7, and Henry, 10, in their backyard in West Boylston, Mass. Kate has spinal muscular atrophy, and was administered a gene therapy that has improved her quality of life, from ‘It’s not a cure’: A gene therapy is opening a new chapter for children, but challenges endure Kayana Szymczak for STAT
Surveillance footage looking into a biosafety level 3 lab where SARS-CoV-2 variants are grown at the Pfizer Pearl River facility, from Inside Pfizer’s labs, ‘variant hunters’ race to stay ahead of the pandemic’s next twist Desiree Rios for STAT
Megan McAllister
Megan McAllister, a case manager with Prevention Point, uses her computer to check on clients’ cases in Philadelphia, from As the pandemic ushered in isolation and financial hardship, overdose deaths reached new heights Hannah Yoon for STAT
For years, Latasha Taylor resisted her mother’s requests to join her in the yard at sunrise. Ever since her mother passed away from Covid, she waters her mom’s plants out of duty, from Shuttered hospitals, soaring Covid-19 deaths: Rural Black communities lose a lifeline in the century’s worst health crisis Bethany Mollenkof for STAT
Vinnie Family 01
Raymond Vinnie Jr., who received medical parole, is surrounded by his family members (clockwise from left) Raymond Vinnie III, Ramona Horn, Marie Smith, Natasia Jefferson, and Morenika Vinnie, from Cement Head’s last fight: He was denied parole six times — until he was about to become a Covid-19 statistic  Nicole Craine for STAT
Augustus White III orthopedic surgery
Harvard orthopedic surgeon Augustus White III holds a 1980 portrait of himself taken at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. White was the first Black medical student at Stanford, first Black orthopedic resident and professor of medicine at Yale, and first Black department head at a Harvard-affiliated hospital, from The whitest specialty: As medicine strives to close its diversity gaps, one field remains a stubborn outlier Vanessa Leroy for STAT
Karen Meadows
Karen Meadows, 61, comforts her son, Chris, 31, as he receives the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine in their West Virginia home, from ‘You work your butt off’: Inside the scramble to bring Covid-19 vaccines to homebound Americans Christopher Jones for STAT
Ashish Jha
Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health and formerly of Harvard, takes a moment to rest following an appearance on a live segment with MSNBC at his office in Providence, R.I., from How Ashish Jha became network TV’s everyman expert on Covid Gretchen Ertl for STAT
The funeral
Funeral goers sing during a service for Daisy Pace at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Belle Glade, Fla., from Distanced: Pandemic stories of Black life in the rural South Bethany Mollenkof for STAT

For more, check out STAT’s most memorable photos from 2020 and 2019.

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