Istanbul -> Uganda -> Dubai -> London

The number of pictures do not reflect the amount of time I spent in each country…48 hrs in Turkey, one month in Uganda, 7 hrs in Dubai, and 4 days in London.

This (in Uganda) was my first time actually doing medically related things abroad, and first time really staying put for a significant amount of time in one place. It was…different…and interesting to become a little bit more intertwined with everything. Providing international medical care in a non-urgent/relief setting seems sort of ethically ambiguous to me and is inevitably fraught with questions of how helpful one really is. As usual the answer to this question depends highly on who you ask. Some patients are certainly helped directly by the additional resources and sometimes expertise we bring but the question remains whether by providing a temporary increase in capacity we are in fact stunting the development of local solutions. Indeed in a way it sounds silly to say that providing aid is sometimes a bad thing, until one realizes that there are inevitably countless ways to define aid depending on the perspective of the participants. It is easy enough to gift the wrong thing to your own family member, with whom you are presumably familiar, imagine how difficult it must be to divine the needs/wishes/hopes/dreams of people far more physically and culturally distant from ourselves. I would hazard to say that, like Christmas, the general concept of global health/aid is an admirable endeavour…but one still has to be careful not to presume too much and fall into self-righteous indignation if offers and overtures are spruned from time to time. After all, one can hardly be faulted to be suspicious of ulterior motives when foreigners come bearing gifts…

 

Topaki Palace

 

 

(Rwanda) -> Uganda

 

Bwindi Impenetrable Park & its famous inhabitants

 

(Still) life at Mutolere/Kisoro

 

the Fort Knox of honey of Kisoro

 

Ascent of Mt Muhavura… 2,721 m or so (~15,000 ft)


…and descent…

 

Dubai, the Port of

Dubai, the Metropolis of (from the Burj Khalifa)

 

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

 

Fowls of Hyde Park

 

 

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Health Care Advocacy

Hi blog and blog readers, long time no see! In short, I’m still in med school and it’s going much better. The long story will have to wait.

I wanna to post because a) I am on my psych rotation and the hours are much much more amenable to keeping up with hobbies and b) I had my first real brush with (semi) big-time politics last night. I’ve always had an inkling that I might one day work myself into a role involving healthcare policies/politics/advocacy, but I figured it’s best that I actually get some medical experience under my belt rather than just going off and espousing views other people put in my brain.

In any case, last night I took advantage of an opportunity offered by the medical student education office of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and attended their 1st Annual Mental Health Symposium for free. A $85 value, including free dinner and coffffffee! You know how I love deals. But also, the topic of “Office Based Strategy for Anxious Kids” was interesting to me as well. While I was certainly the only non-pediatric and non-psych person there, I feel that it’s just good to know about these things…even/especially for the ED (oh, did I mention I’m going into Emergency Medicine?). Plus, did I mention the free food?

The presentation by Dr Eli Lebowitz and Dr. Carol Weitzman from Yale was certainly enlightening…if a little obvious to my mind, but what I really appreciated was just finding out about the variety of services available for pediatric mental health in the area. I also gained some insight on my own thinking and my tendency to blame parents for poorly behaving children when it may in fact be more multifactorial.

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In any case, I suppose the highlight of the night and the real impetus for this post was the speech by Senator Chris Murphy, the junior senator for CT in the US Senate. Originally he was scheduled to speak via video conference but he ended up coming in person. I found him quite engaging as a speaker. Further, I found his message of “hey, we are doing things in Congress!” to be surprisingly heartening. In particular he was describing the progress of the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 through the two chambers of Congress and highlighting some of the key provisions therein. That was encouraging. Of course the bill is not perfect, and no bill can ever be perfect, but the stories of cooperation (Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voting yes on the same piece of legislation!) gives me some hope. Of course, as die-hard cynic/skeptic, I chalk up much of the speech as simple politicizing. But in truth, the bill does indeed include many well thought out components, and if it does eventually become law I think it will do a lot of good. Thankfully, as Senator Murphy insisted, there is substantial momentum for Congress to actually act…maybe even this year! Now I just have to read the damn thing in whole so I make sure that I’m not just spouting off unverified praise…

Well, I think that will do for now, see as I do have to go into work at some point, and that point is drawing near. In preview, however, I’ll have it known that I have been picking up many new hobbies in addition to continuing to garden. So watch out for those posts coming up (maybe) if that’s something you’re into. Oh and I got a new car and she’s gorgeous.

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some pictures from the past few months

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dinner for one

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snack for two

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At the National Zoo:

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No the keeper isn’t stabbing the cloud leopard, she’s just feeding her through the fence….and the meatball fell off.

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This is what pandas look like when they poop. And they poop fluorescent yellow pineapples.

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Those are some sort of dwarf mongooses/mongeese.

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And of course, meerkats.

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15-DSC_7833 16-DSC_7866At Monticello

 

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