When the federal government executed Corey Johnson at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, on the 14th of January, 2021, he was COVID-19 positive. He was executed while suffering from a highly contagious respiratory illness that is killing over 4,000 Americans each day. Despite his positive diagnosis for COVID-19 and his risk for infecting those around him with this respiratory illness, Corey Johnson’s execution was not postponed. Who ...

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This week at work, I had a patient in the hospital who had been through a pretty challenging illness, and he was going to have to be discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) to rehab for a few weeks. Sadly, SNFs in my area do not currently allow any visitors due to the pandemic. The patient is very close to his daughter, who lives out of state, and she ...

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I am at a loss.  While trying to explain the events to my children since January 6, I feel profound sadness and fear.  Our country is built on freedom, yet the latest in a parade of crisis’ is being used by those in power to remove our freedoms at an alarming pace and divide our country further. Less than one percent of the people who went to Washington, DC for a ...

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Sometimes structural racism surfaces in a way that even those of us who would like to be “color-blind” cannot help but see. In the spring of 2020, the video-recorded death of George Floyd (who was Black) at the hands of a law enforcement officer (who was white) brought millions of witnesses to the kind of hostility that is all-too-familiar to individuals of color.  Individuals, many non-white, took to our nation’s capital ...

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As a young and optimistic business school graduate, I recall when the consulting firm I worked for was retained to evaluate “USA Hospital and Medical Clinics” (pseudonym). “USA” had grown quickly and was struggling to manage the recent expansion. We interviewed doctors, nurses, and medical assistants, and they told us about the problems they faced every day: They were pressured to get patients in and out quickly to keep average visit ...

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I am a Philadelphian. I was born in a hospital within a few blocks of Independence Hall, where the Constitution was written, and of Thomas Jefferson’s lodging, where the Declaration of Independence was drafted. Whether it was elementary school trips to Betsy Ross House, Ben Franklin’s Printing House or, yes, to see the crack in the Liberty Bell, then housed in the Hall itself, the tenets of our country’s revolutionary ...

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Disparities in rural health care have been well established with respect to socioeconomic status, race, and geography. COVID-19 brought these disparities to the surface within most rural communities in the United States, highlighting the limited access to health care specialists and subspecialists.

As an otolaryngologist, I have had the privilege and unique opportunity of serving two different communities: Chicago’s city dwellers and ...

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In recent years, the divide between rural and urban areas of the United States has become more pronounced, with sharply divergent views on both social and economic policies. The results of this latest election show starkly that the divide persists, and indicate that the institutions that shape our nation are not successfully representing all portions of society. One of those institutions appears to be medicine. A sign of this is how the public ...

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I recently read an opinion by a physician regarding the decision as to which COVID patient would receive care and which would not when hospitals became too full to care for every patient. He suggested that no one need be denied care if some structural changes were made in health care delivery. Given the expected post-Christmas/New Year tsunami of new cases; and limited supplies, equipment, and staff, it is doubtful ...

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As communities of color continue to be disproportionately decimated by COVID-19 and the brutal impact of racism and other longstanding systemic inequalities, academic medicine finds itself at a critical inflection point in defining its role in addressing social injustices not only for its patients but also for its academic workforce.  In the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, many medical schools and teaching hospitals released statements condemning racial injustice and vowed ...

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