What Can I do? A guest post by Aaron Stupple

Today, a guest post written by Aaron Stupple.

A common question in the wake of the election is- now what? What can I do?

If this election bothers you because of how it undermines the things that you care about, then I suggest doing something to bolster the things you care about, and doing them in a meaningful way (ie- a way that actually makes a real difference for real people, not a way that simply adds your voice to the din of other voices).

This is a hard question. It requires some reflection.

How do you define good work, and are you doing it? Does your work or profession support people to develop their own agency and power in their lives? If so, great, and if you want to do more, look into how you can mold your day to be even more impactful.

If your profession undermines progress, then congratulations for stepping into the world of Phil Lederer’s blog.

What if your profession professes to support the individual and public good, but actually does quite a bit to undermine it? Physicians are squarely in this boat- we deepen inequity by diverting society’s money away from things that matter (education, public health, infrastructure, public safety, nutrition, etc etc etc), and toward things that aren’t terribly effective. It’s estimated that we waste $750 billion a year in unneeded healthcare. Doctors are hard to access, hard to pay for, and hard to get a chance to really talk to. Patients can get their Hemoglobin A1C checked pronto, even though treating it won’t make much difference. But if they’re depressed or have a drug habit, they’re out of luck.

As physicians, if we truly want to make a difference, we should examine whether we are part of the problem, and how we can adapt what we focus on things that make a difference. We can educate ourselves about overuse and change our ordering habits. Cardiologists who see lots of endocarditis can learn about drug treatment programs and needle exchanges, gastroenterologists can decide to fully investigate the roots of depression, stress and abuse that underly vague abdominal pain.

If racism bothers you, an easy idea is to be more attune to supporting victims of bias-motivated harm with the clinical guide and poster in this toolkit.

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Please leave comments below. Thanks!

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