I've wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid. I remember going to the Field Museum in Chicago, standing in a giant replica of heart and listen to a recording of its beating. It felt like being let in on a secret, a secret that I could use to stop heart attacks one day. Like a real super hero.
But along the way felt less sure. I worried about the ways that doctors change during their training, from the cut-throat competition in college to the hierarchical nature of training, which distances us from our patients and each other.
I studied the history of science in college, which gave me a foundation for thinking about how science can sometimes function as a religion in our culture, preventing all of us from questioning our beliefs. Less and less sure of my path, I worked with many different nonprofits, including on a leprosy history project in Brazil. It was there that I decided that I needed a skill to bring to people who needed help.
I went to Emory University for medical school, working at Grady Hospital, a busy and important safety net hospital where need always outpaces resources. It is a place that is populated by true warriors for justice and compassion, and it shaped my thinking about the power of medicine forever.
I trained in internal medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, where I now primarily work with immigrants and patients with addiction. It is a place, like Grady, with fairness and advocacy at the core of its mission. I'm grateful to have found a home there.
To me, medicine is always an act of social justice or injustice. We engage with the ethical quandaries of our role, our patients’ circumstances, our community, or we perpetuate the pathologies of power.
My writing explores the view from a resident and later, primary care doctor, grappling with what it means to provide ethical care in a dysfunctional and often unethical system.