Category Archives: Public Health

Global Health: It’s Not About Becoming Worldly, It’s About Becoming Better Doctors

Heidi Chumley, MD

Heidi Chumley, MD

As we continue to evolve how we prepare medical students to join the US physician workforce, we should continue to create global health experiences that will impact how we approach clinical practice—whether that be when managing a diverse patient population or when addressing the global health issues that are now on our doorstep.

When I was in medical school, we often saw the term international health in the context of faraway villages where issues like access to clean water, sanitation, and basic understanding of the spread of disease were at the heart of figuring out how to improve a community’s well-being.

As medical students, we viewed short-term medical mission trips as our way of getting a glimpse of the world outside our environment and gaining exposure to not just tropical diseases that we would never see at home, but also to the ways that healthcare providers in these settings coped in order to care for their patients.

Things changed somewhere along the way, and what we used to call international health became global health, the term much more indicative of a connected world where diseases–and physicians–crossed borders. A decade ago it was SARS and later the avian flu. Recently we had our first cases of Ebola in Dallas and New York City. Global health, it seems, has come home.

In the journal Family Medicine, Dr John Frey III of the University of Wisconsin writes that global health experiences can be “a treatment for [US] medical myopia,” referring to a seeming inability for the US clinical and educational systems to learn from other cultures and systems. “At its best,” he writes, “global health offers a perspective based on humility rather than arrogance and on an openness and generosity of thought that changes thinking and practice in all directions.”

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How a Great Idea and an STFM Fellowship Empowered Underserved Children to Pursue Health Care Careers

Renee Crichlow, MD,

Renee Crichlow, MD,

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

My parents always asked me this. I learned later that this was about creating a vision and expectation of the future.

Now I am Dr Renee Crichlow, a family physician working and teaching family medicine in underserved North Minneapolis, and I ask every child I see, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Many answer doctor or nurse and yet in the medical school and the residency applications I rarely saw any kids from the neighborhood. My co-worker Shailey Prasad, MD, MPH, and I knew this was a complex problem not to be solved overnight.

We decided with the support of our department chair, Mac Baird, MD, MS, to build The Ladder, a structured health care pipeline mentorship program that incorporates hands-on science fun with values and character development designed to facilitate the development of lifelong learners and leaders interested in health care careers.

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Growing the Impact of Family Medicine Through Advocacy

Nicholas Cohen, MD

Nicholas Cohen, MD

Since medical school, I have seen the unrivaled value family physicians provide to the patients they see. I was unaware—until this month—of the impact family physicians can have beyond their clinic walls on the health of their community at the local, regional, and national level. Our potential impact in this expanded sphere became clear to me on a visit to Capitol Hill with the Family Medicine Congressional Conference.

 What is the Family Medicine Congressional Conference?

FMCC attendees outside the office of Senator Sherrod Brown, D-OH.

FMCC attendees outside the office of Senator Sherrod Brown.

It is a 2-day conference in Washington, DC, open to anyone in family medicine. Day one I learned about the current priorities in family medicine and received practical, hands-on training in advocacy. Day two I visited  members of  Congress with others from my state in prearranged meetings to engage legislators in issues important to me and my patients.

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