Why doctors need Hollywood

Sex sells. US Weekly and People fly off the shelves with the latest reality star drama.  Unfortunately, the same does not apply to the diseases running rampant in today’s society.  Is there an answer?  I would like to say yes, but the ultimate answer remains to be seen.  After my four years of undergraduate work and four more years of medical school, I am confident that there are a myriad of professionals in the medical field dedicated and committed to finding cures. The problem comes when they ask for dollars to fund the journey.

Why not use sex? Hollywood has a power to sell a product or idea. Give Kim Kardashian a product and I’m nearly positive it will sell. Maybe not after her 72 day marriage, but hey, people bought those magazines too.  Whether it’s a cleaning substance, food chopper, mop, or piece of jewelry, those who put their faces on television and the silver screen have an innate ability to push people to areas they would normally not enter.  These “actors” are gifted with talents that allow them access to households across the globe and outlets that society cannot hide from.

With these above powers, why not put these gifts to good use for the greater good? We need celebrities to advocate for funding and finding a cure for these diseases. Just think of how much coverage Stand Up to Cancer has gotten over the past several years, or Breast Cancer awareness colors warn by every NFL team during the month of October.

So yes, nobody really cares that your average Joe has diabetes, cancer, heart failure, or polycystic kidney disease, but if an A-list celebrity who was the unfortunate one stricken, the attention would change.  People would care.  Media outlets would care.  People would become interested in helping out and funding would become more available.

I ask you, Mr. Hollywood celebrity for your courage in stepping forward and helping us get the help we need to pay it forward to our patients. One small act could have a bigger impact on someone’s life versus your silver screen role.  Borrowing a line from one of my favorite movies, “if you build it, they will come,” and I truly believe if you talk about it, more funding and support will follow.

Adam Bitterman is a physician. 

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