This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be an intern for the government relations arm of a national medical society. Below is an attempt at recreating a “Hill Day” so that you, the reader, can get a better idea of how policy is influenced.
Everyone says that medical school gets better, especially during third year. The traditional four-year curriculum covers the basic sciences in the classroom for the first two years. Then suddenly, third year plunges us into clinical rotations in the hospital, where we’ve all dreamed of working for so long.
She approached me and said, “Can I tell you something?” As we drifted slightly away from the cluster of white coats that I had previously stood with, she stated, “I just wanted to say that I’m so proud of you.”
We strive to identify as a generation of idealists. / We are politically aware, socially conscious young adults. / We place our collective purchasing power behind products with a social mission.
When I was six, a set of strawberry hair ties foiled my endeavor for independence. My mother had a way of twisting the plastic ornaments at the end of her operation so they sat together like two friends on a bus, neat and obedient at the crown of my head. Despite my assertions, (“I can do it myself!”) I could never align their orbits.
Certain events over the past few months and the recent election have revealed a lot of hurt and pain in our country. As future physicians, I believe we are called not only to care medically for our patients, but also to advocate for them. I do not know what the future may hold, but I do know that we can play our part in standing up for our communities and championing the rights of those who are marginalized. I hope we can strive to be medical students and physicians who are defined by empathetic care and healing.
I only realized that I was an optimist on November 9. Crushing disbelief is cliche, and yet — as I walked home, hot-cheeked, through rain and yolk-colored streetlights just after midnight, past a dive bar where neighbors tallied states and feverishly refreshed fivethirtyeight — I felt trampled.
Gun violence as a public health issue is not a new phenomenon. In 2014 alone, there were 81,034 injuries and 33,599 deaths due to gun violence in the United States,which equate to 222 Americans injured, and 92 killed, by firearms every day.
Major sporting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl are often surrounded with excitement and drama. This year’s Olympics in Brazil is buzzing with talk of the Zika virus. The Super Bowl was fraught with drama surrounding Beyoncé’s half-time performance. It seems like everyone has something to say about these topics. But, one thing spectators don’t talk about is an unseen drama that often surrounds major sporting events: sex trafficking.
In December of 2014, one week after the non-indictment of Michael Brown, in-Training published an article entitled “A Lack of Care: Why Medical Students Should Focus on Ferguson.” In it, Jennifer Tsai argued that the systemic racism rampant in our law enforcement and criminal justice systems also permeates our health care system, affecting both access to care for black patients and the quality of care black patients receive. Lamenting that the medical community was largely absent from the Ferguson controversy, she cited startling statistics of disparities in health and health care as part of her call to action. In light of the events last week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas, it’s time to revisit this message.
I walk down Summit Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota this evening, and it is packed with people. People grieving, people chatting, people holding one another, people holding banners and people giving speeches. July 7, 2016: a black man named Philandro Castile had been killed barely twenty-four hours ago by a police officer.
As I write this article, 49 people have been confirmed dead after a mass shooting at a popular nightclub in Orlando, FL, with an additional 53 reported injured. In recent times, similar shootings have occurred with frightening regularity. In 2015 alone, we can recount San Bernadino, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Roseburg, Oregon; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Charleston, North Carolina. People are being killed in unprecedented numbers, yet we have a poor understanding of the disease that is taking their lives. Gun violence is now a concerning public health issue and it begs the question: where are the patient advocates?