Expert Response 4

Updated: July 20, 2020

It would be easy to say something like, “I’d wake up on a tropical beach and do nothing but surf for the rest of my life”, but that’s not very practical, and not being productive and helpful would honestly get boring after a while! Instead, if I really had the opportunity to pursue anything at all, with no limits and no price tags attached, I would love to travel the rural parts of our nation [or wherever you’d like to go – the Global South, a specific country of concern, etc.] with a state-of-the-art, no-cost, mobile health facility. I would hire a diverse, rotating team of health care specialists whose entire job was to be on the road with this facility, bringing care to the parts of our nation where many are left without the medical attention they need. For far too long, our rural communities – including indigenous communities – have been severely medically underserved. On top of the progression of minor medical issues into major emergencies when health care or expensive diagnostics are inaccessible, this is also one key driver of the current opioid epidemic, which has hit rural communities with particular impact, as doctors and patients have to fill in gaps in care with medications that leave some people prone to dependency.

It would also be important to me to have multiple providers of indigenous backgrounds and/or training in working specifically with indigenous communities, to ensure that any care provided to these communities is culturally appropriate. Diversity, overall, would be a key concern, so that we’re always attentive to each patient’s own goals and definition of health. Those without access or economic means to work towards wellness should still be active agents in the discussion around their own health care. Culturally competent care leads to better patient outcomes, so meeting this need would be a key concern for me.

To be able to bring complex diagnostics, costly medications and treatments, and – especially – preventative care to these communities, to do so without concern for overheads or funding, and with attention to the diverse needs of our patients, would be the most rewarding thing I could possibly do with my life.

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