In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the rush of similar stories from around the country, many have called to “defund the police.” While critics paint this as a reactionary response to high-profile incidents, the phrase deserves deeper consideration than that. The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others are not isolated incidents. They are symptoms of a systemic flaw in our criminal justice system. ...

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First and foremost, a mental health crisis is a medical emergency well within the sector of public health. Therefore, the question of who should respond to mental health emergencies is one in which physicians and all medical providers should have a say. Medical providers should not only be aware of the systems in place to respond to mental health crisis but must advocate for patient safety as a measurable outcome ...

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“I used to shoot people like you,” the patient said to me. He was one scary Vietnam vet, and I was one scared second-year resident.  Though not Vietnamese, I figured correcting him wouldn’t matter.  As an Asian American (Chinese on my dad’s side, Japanese on my mom’s), I’d experienced racism and bigotry before, and from different races, not just white.  Even as a doctor, I understood I ‘d still encounter it.  ...

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1. Thou shalt first become comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations with thyself, before ever trying to have them with any other person. At this point in our earthly lives, we must — as a matter of urgency — get into that space of vulnerability and face our fears and insecurities. Dig deep to figure out why we are uncomfortable and get past that point with intention and focus. 2. Thou shalt educate ...

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I fixed my gaze across a sea of white coats, scrubs, and face masks, as I took a knee in front of my institution’s hospital. A photographer was walking around capturing historical moments while we spent 10 minutes in silence to remember all the black lives lost due to intolerance and racism. Over the past couple of weeks, I have gotten a surge of emails from my institution’s faculty and administration, ...

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“Give ‘em out like candy,” advised a senior resident while handing me a stack of small flyers. The text outlined a list of services provided by a nearby community resource center for help with things like housing, food, education, employment, and legal issues. I never thought this quarter page of paper would prove so critical throughout my time working as a psychiatry resident in our county clinic.

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Two years ago, my wife and I spent our 20th wedding anniversary in Charleston, SC, a city steeped in national history, both good and bad. Nothing could be more iconic of good history than Fort Sumter, and nothing more iconic of bad history than the Old Slave Market on Chalmers Street. We learned a great deal about how our country grappled with its shortcomings. The Great American Experiment, through blood ...

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As an Asian male, I grew up with my share of racist encounters, some very ugly and downright scary.  Yet I refuse to blame an entire segment of the population for the misdeeds of a few.  I refuse to allow circumstances to shape me as a person or my attitudes, and instead, I try to live my life as virtuous as possible—taking care of patients as best I can, being ...

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Even before the pandemic, the U.S. health care system needed a significant overhaul. For too long, we have operated in a reactive mode, prioritizing treating illness over ensuring health and wellness. In the post-COVID-19 era, stakes are even higher. Our health care system faces an unprecedented demand surge from millions who put their own care on hold over the past several months. How we approach this impending surge will determine ...

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It is exciting to see so many American medical students join the protracted struggle for racial justice. Some students are involved in efforts within their institutions to affect change--both curricular and extracurricular. Others are working beyond their institutions, in the streets, and on social media. While student activism is transforming American medical schools as we speak, an additional key to making sure that the movement both persists and succeeds lies with ...

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