I have been trying to find my niche in healthcare, and I have a bit of a bone to pick or perhaps a rant to go on. I believe that what I have to offer is of value, but I need to convince the medical community and I think my best chance is from within. Commence project infiltration.
We know that more and more people are turning to complementary and alternative healing modalities in the United States and all over the world. Many people practice healing methods that have been passed down from generation to generation yet the medical community still does not acknowledge the pluralistic system we are a part of. Western Allistic medicine still believes (in general) that their way is the only right way.
I am a healer, but more than that I want to build bridges. I want to help conventional medicine to see that people are looking outside their boundaries for health and happiness. In order to truly help people we must take into account their personal experiences, culture and spirituality. I want people to feel comfortable going to the doctor if they need to without fear of judgement. The people and modern medicine are in conflict, and I don’t believe it has to be that way. The Hippocratic Oath proclaims that physicians shall “do no harm,” but can they claim that as a profession they are following that creed?
I have heard so many stories from clients, friends and colleagues about traumatic experiences within the healthcare system. Isn’t the goal to help people, not cause additional distress during experiences that might be life changing like birth, death, injury or major illness?
My solution to this overwhelming problem lies in cultural sensitivity and improved communication and education. Many medical schools are beginning to emphasize the importance of the humanities in medical education, and I believe this is a step in the right direction, but collaborative efforts need to extend beyond the classroom. Herbalists other alternative practitioners and doctors need to have an open dialogue, and work together for the benefit of their patients. Public health efforts need to utilize the wisdom of alternative practitioners in preventative practices. We need to tear down the hierarchy of medicine that often put the physician on a pedestal looking down on everyone, including those they are supposed to be helping. Doctors are not gods, and we need to stop treating them as such.
We need to relearn to trust our intuition about our health and our bodies. We must educate ourselves and make informed medical decisions with the assistance of healthcare providers and quality research. It is time to take back ownership of our individual health and advocate for ourselves.
I know that this is not going to happen overnight. Change takes time. If my voice is going to be heard, it needs to be loud, and I will need to speak with authority and confidence. I could use help, I am not sure how yet, but I intend to start a revolution. Will you join me? Together we can do more.
My first step is graduate school. I have applied to Public Health programs, and begun making connections with like-minded individuals. I will likely be the odd one out in an MPH program, but I hope to learn, and sway opinions along the way as well.