Anyone entering medical training is taught that medicine is an art, one that combines scientific knowledge, discovery and application with its practice. It is both art and applied science. It should never become nor has it ever been only all one or the other. To be medicine at all, the noble vocation that so many brilliant minds sacrifice to pursue in service to their fellow humans, the practice must balance art ...

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Well, it’s that time of year again. Fall is near, and ‘tis this season for more pay cuts from CMS and insurance companies. Are there any other health-related professions that receive across the board pay cuts? I know of none. The U.S. health care mega-complex includes not only physicians, but hospital administrators, legions of hospital vice-presidents, insurance company executives, elected politicians, federal employees at CMS, hospital employees, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician ...

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My significant other is a physician working in Houston, and he missed Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, being out of town for a conference. The hospital sent out an S.O.S. asking faculty to do their best to come in. As the Houston airports continued to be closed Monday and Tuesday, he and his colleague, also a physician and a native of Houston, flew to another airport and drove a few ...

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This article was originally presented as student remarks at the 2015 Harvard Medical School commencement.  At the end of medical school, I always return to a musing, a zen koan of sorts from Dean Jeffrey Flier. At my white coat ceremony, a close friend and current resident, Dr. Nina Gold was chatting with the dean about the heft of our newly bestowed bright white coats. He asked her, in one beautiful ...

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“You’re a doctor; focus on being a doctor.” This piece of advice was recently given to me by my own father, in regards to my multiple ambitions outside of the medical field. He himself only recently retired from a long career as a surgeon, so his opinion is the result of years of experience. His advice got me thinking. What makes for career longevity in our field? Statistics show that more than half ...

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More than anything, Willie needed a place to pee. Elaine needed help walking. Willie is homeless; Elaine is affluent.  They both needed someone to listen to them and help them find solutions to their most pressing everyday challenges.  That’s called “co-production of care.” When Willie found out he had congestive heart failure, his doctor put him on beta blockers with diuretics. The medications made Willie feel better, but there was one problem:  Because of ...

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Approximately 18 months ago, I was asked to serve as the surgical director for operating room (OR) services at our children’s hospital. The opportunity has been an eye-opening experience in understanding how a hospital functions. ORs are like the economic engine room in a large ocean-going vessel. Without them functioning optimally, the boat stops moving, and is batted about by of waves economic disruption. If surgical admissions drop below a certain ...

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As Sen. Bernie Sanders prepares to introduce a universal health care bill in the next few weeks, many progressives who support a universal single-payer program worry about its effects on abortion access. Can we win Medicare-for-all while protecting hard-won reproductive rights? As a woman of color, a reproductive rights advocate, and graduate student of public health, I recognize the importance for marginalized groups to stand in solidarity for ...

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An executive summary of "A radically patient-centered proposal to fix health care in America." The political theater over health care reform has quieted after yet another ugly show. A productive dialogue about big ideas seems impossible in our hyper-partisan climate. No matter which party holds power, any significant proposal is quickly met with fierce opposition from a variety of political and business interests. So, for many decades, America has ...

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I am happy to be part of The Thinking Podcast at HVMN. We talk social media, the evolution of the doctor-patient relationship, and health care reform. Enjoy!

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