Monday, April 11, 2011

Leave Your Mark

It always amazes me how some people can have such an impact on others.

A couple weeks ago I attended a dinner event to which I invited Dr. H and his team to be some of the speakers. He's just as inspiring to me as always. I asked (innocently) the panel about how we as medical providers may help patients adhere to various treatment regimens. At that, the neurosurgeon present called me naive, how we can't change people's behaviors, and how we have to meet patients where they are. Instantly Dr. H took over and agreed that we needed to meet patients where they are. Some patients aren't ready to adhere to a treatment regimen, but what we must do is to help them prepare for the day that they are ready. It's more important that they see us and stay "plugged in" to the health system than to demand them to take their drugs.

I also attended a lunch talk by an MD/MBA about his journey in getting a dual-degree. I love hearing docs with dual-degrees speak because it usually tends to reinvigorate my desire to finish my MPH (which I still fully intend on doing).
A few days ago I attended the state medical society's annual meeting in the state capital. At this meeting, resolutions are debated, recommendations are made, and then resolutions are voted on. We, the medical students, have made some great changes to the state medical society's policies on a variety of things.

One student put forth an anti-bullying policy that explicitly states the position to oppose bullying in all its forms (including against LGBTQ individuals), and to encourage and support school anti-bullying training programs for students, parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, etc. The specific inclusion of the LGBTQ wording caught some controversy from a few physicians, as they felt it detracted from the "oppose bullying in all its forms." On the floor of the House of Delegates, there were some amazing testimonies from students and physicians in support of keeping the language. One physician (a plastic surgeon) stated that LGBTQ must be included in the resolution as is because, unfortunately, many people still don't see bullying against that population as a legitimate issue. And a med student said that, while LGBTQ students are bullied about as much as any other student, the severity of the bullying may be worse. In the end, the resolution was adopted.

My resolution was adopted without opposition (which is rather rare). I "merely" reworded the hospital non-discrimination policy to include: sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and disability. The original wording only included class, means, age, and gender. While this resolution may seem like a minor thing, it's really quite significant. With this, it means that every hospital in the state must be that much more inclusive in their non-discrimination policy.

There were other resolutions that we fought for. In retrospect, words can't quite convey the importance of what we were able to accomplish. To be able to, as a med student, change the state medical society's policy and stance on things is pretty impressive.

Change is possible. We are leaving our mark.


Mike said...

Sounds like you are definitely leaving your mark. Awesome.

Biki said...

I'm glad to see you out there making waves for GLBT people, good for you! It's good to hear that students and doctors fought for the inclusive language against bullying. Maybe the tide is turning? We can only hope.

tracy said...

Congrats, Aek! You did great! i am on Councilman Joel Burns mailing list now and did mail my Senator concerning the Anti-Bullying Legislation. i wish there were some way i could get personally involved. If you know of any organizations i might find locally...i tried the Trevor Project, but can't find a local chapter.

Seth said...

Hi there AEK, sorry I'm being kind of shady here since I never comment anymore but...but I've recently returned to blog land after being killed by Google and was hoping you could mention me, follow me, and especially link to me.


Also I will be rebuilding my link list and adding you. Sorry to be so totally off-topic and butt in here.

Have a good one!

Aek said...

Mike: :-)

Biki: Idk about making waves. Maybe ripples, lol.

tracy: Thanks! I think my one suggestion is to contact a local school and see how you can help out that way. I don't know where you are, so I can't help you find bigger organizations. You may want to check out PFLAG.