Compassion & Healthcare


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Using arts and communication to help physicians improve health, avoid suicide
By Ruthann Richter
Stanford Medicine, scopeblog

Although the job of the medical doctor is to take care of his or her patients, physicians tend to have a hard time taking care of themselves. With the emotional exhaustion often attached to the job, they are more prone to suicide than members of the general population. However, according to two Stanford researchers, creative support programs centered on the arts, communication, and writing are being used to help physicians find some life balance. Whether you are a medical professional or not, it is easy to get overwhelmed by a job that involves serving others. How do you find time for self-care? Do any of the approaches discussed here speak to you?


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Why your doctor should care about social justice
by Dr. Mary Bassett, NYC Health Commissioner

"We don't have to have all the answers to call for change, we just need courage."  
In this TEDMED Talk, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett shares insights gleaned from lessons she learned working to address health disparities around the globe. From witnessing the spread of the AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe in the 1980s to seeing the institutional racism permeating the United States healthcare system today, Dr. Bassett highlights structural inequities that make marginalized people more vulnerable to hardship and disease. You can listen to her full talk here. Do her words inspire you? Have you experienced or witnessed any of what she is discussing? What can we do as a society to hold ourselves more accountable?


I mage credit: Victoria Sarno Jordan / NPR

Image credit: Victoria Sarno Jordan / NPR

Mom Inspires Daughter To Be A Doctor Who Really Makes People Better
by Maanvi Singh
NPR, Goats & Soda

Dr. Etheldreda Nakimuli-Mpungu's mother gave her daughter some sound advice upon graduating from medical school: she told her that it wasn't enough to just be a 'good doctor.' As Dr. Mpungu shared with NPR, her mother said: "There's some doctors you go to and they don't make you better. I want you to be one of the doctors that really makes people better." Fifteen years later, Mpungu has gained deeper insight into her mother's words as she continues to figure out innovative ways to provide care for under-served patients suffering from HIV/AIDS and depression. Her implementation of group therapy in Uganda and beyond has had an incredible impact alleviating depression in HIV/AIDS patients. Have there been times in your life where you have had to stretch yourself or alter your perspective in order to solve a problem? What impact did that process have on you?


Behind Bars: Caring for incarcerated youths rewarding despite hardships
by Jessica Pupillo
American Academy of Pediatrics Gateway

Incarcerated youths have higher rates of substance abuse and are more likely to have had traumatic experiences, brain injuries, and tuberculosis. And yet, despite high rates of unmet medical needs, confined children rarely are treated by pediatricians. In an effort to change this, pediatricians Patricia Reams and Paula Braverman are calling for more involvement and more advocacy: “We can do our part when kids are in the correctional facility, but ultimately improving their health care means improving social determinants of health." How do you see the link between your spiritual life and your own calling to take action for change in the world?