:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Monday, July 19, 2004  

Public Health in DC -- man, it ain't rocket science
 
Last year, while working at the American Medical Student Association as a fellow, I got involved in a few local DC coalitions on health access, and the stories that I heard about the disparities in health in the DC area were striking.  The public hospital closing issue was of deep interest to me, and I have to thank my friend Joni Eisenberg, a wonderful radio host on WPFW in DC (who allowed me to speak on the radio from time to time -- it was so exciting!), for much of my awareness of the city's health.  Today the Washington Post is carrying a story revealing horror stories about lack of care, treatment, and follow-up for patients referred to a CDC funded, Washington DC Tuberculosis clinic.
 
I'm really fascinated by the concept of "aligning the silos" of health care and public health in ways that we just absolutely fail at right now as a society.  It would make sense for the health care and public health (and even housing, etc) sectors to seamlessly carry information to each other, seamlessly continue care and seamlessly and efficiently communicate.  But instead of working on that, we're funneling gazillions (for lack of knowledge of what that big ol' number really is) into research for possible biological weapons attacks.  I'm not saying that's not important, but it's taking away money from current public health programs, and also, when we do have public health measures around biological weapons, whose to say they'll be effectively communicated among doctor, patient, and public health agencies?  Victor Freemen, President-Elect of the D.C. Medical Society, put it nicely:
 
"The issue for the medical society was that if we're not managing the most basic public health function, then we have concerns about the ability to manage more complex issues -- especially in the nation's capital, which is a potential target for chemical and biological events."
 
Really, it ain't rocket science. (can you tell I like using this statement?)

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/19/2004 06:04:00 PM | |


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