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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