There are two main types of advocacy: community-based advocacy — which consists of direct provision of services to marginalized populations — and political advocacy — which involves crafting legislation that affects a large group of people.
Our successes are born out of / The communities that uplifted us. / The teachers that pushed us.
Discussing women’s sexuality is uncomfortable. Sociocultural messages that portray the ideal woman as passive, soft and naïve belie our often-espoused values and institutional policies that support women’s rights, health and equality.
Every town — / We’ll say it could be any town, / until it has affected every town
I created this piece as a donation to Female Tales Untold, a student-led event which raises money for SafeHouse Denver, an organization which serves women experiencing domestic violence in the Denver metropolitan area. This event is led my students from Rocky Vista University, the medical school I attend.
I learned English out of necessity — not only for myself but also for my family. I grew up in Mexico and moved to a small Northern California town at the age of eight. When we moved to the United States, I was placed in an English-speaking classroom with no one who spoke Spanish. Necessity forced me to learn English quickly and, as a result, I became my family’s unofficial interpreter, including at their medical appointments.
As medical students at Emory, we spent our first six months building a firm conception of what it means to be healthy. It did not take long to appreciate how much of our patients’ health would be determined by their social context before they ever walk into our clinics and hospitals. The importance of adequate and healthy nutrition, safe housing and manageable stress is clearly linked to patient outcomes. We can see these issues on the ballot in every election. In this sense, voting is healthy.
A 5-year-old African-American boy presents to the emergency department with left leg pain. His leg is exquisitely tender to palpation… If I read this vignette in the first year of medical school, I would have navigated to the multiple-choice answers to select anything related to sickle cell disease. The question writers are stating that the patient is Black, young and has a painful limb — this is not a difficult diagnosis.
I remember hearing an important piece of advice: “If you are passionate about something, you will make time for it in medical school.” This advice, however, was soon countered by a snarky follow-up: “It is not that you did not have time for it; you did not make time for it.”
In 2018, a patient filed a complaint against a medical student for wearing a “Black Lives Matter” pin on her white coat. When the student reached out to her school’s administration, she received this response: “It is best to not raise barriers in the way we present ourselves … Some of your political pins may offend some people, and it is probably best not to wear them on your white coat or while you are working in a professional role.”
Recently two prominent children’s hospitals have made unprecedented announcements. Boston Children’s Hospital and Chicago’s Laurie Children’s Hospital announced that they would stop performing certain surgeries on children born with intersex traits. These announcements come after huge direct efforts by advocacy groups like The Intersex Jusice Project, lead by Pidgeon Pagonis, and InterAct, a national intersex youth advocacy group.
I’m not the first to think / under my breath, even out loud: / To test positive for Covid. / Even after this morning.