Walking the Talk

I’m back!

After a 3 month hiatus from writing, I’m back! And although things went radio silent on my blog, I’ve been busy working on projects that I am excited to share with you guys! But first, let me tell you why I took a break.

For those of us who think critically about the delicate social safety net that is fraying under mounting pressures of growing inequality and finite public resources, it is clear that more than thoughtful rhetoric is required to bear this heavy load. It is also clear that there are new opportunities for the healthcare industry to unite with the social sector to address the most egregious impacts of poverty in our society – death and disease. So while I took some time away from talking the talk on here, it is in part because I found new opportunities to walk this walk in my professional life.

Now, I’m back, and with new experiences that will hopefully inform our conversation on this blog. So look forward to new posts as I continue to think about the intersections of race, gender, social inequity, structural inequality and health in our society and ponder aloud how we might address these issues together, through our unique work.

Here are the questions that will drive my next posts:

1. Is worse care better than no care? Do new models of care trialed by pharmacies (think CVS, Walgreen’s) and internet giants (think Google and Facebook) suggest access is more important than quality? How should what we know about quality drive how we provide care across the medical infrastructure?

2. How can technology bridge the gap between the healthcare and social sectors, as we both endeavor to address the impacts of poverty on society? This question is intimately related to a question I frequently ask on this blog: If patients bring doctors their social needs and doctors know those needs impact their health, what is the physician’s role in addressing social needs?

3. Cultural Competence vs Cultural Consciousness. What is the correct framework for understanding and addressing health disparities? How should we teach physicians and trainees to engage their unconscious bias in clinical encounters such that all patients receive and perceive quality care, regardless of their “cultural” background?

Okay, those are a few teasers to tide you over for now šŸ˜‰ And if you have other topics you’d like me to address, please leave a comment and I will do my best to include them in upcoming pieces. Looking forward to walking the talk together!

Until then, be well!

Rhea

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4 thoughts on “Walking the Talk

  1. Eagerly awaiting your blog post on teaching cultural consciousness, and competence. Any ideas for a mixed group? I lead a summer community health program that partners university students and high school students to learn about and address underlying determinants of health (http://summerservicepartnership.com). I am exploring how best to raise consciousness in a way that empowers all. Look forward to learning more about your approach!

    • Thank you for reaching out Dr. Jones! Mixed groups can be powerful and your program looks great! Thanks for including the link. And thanks for looking out for my upcoming piece! It is probably a week or 2 away, but I look forward to hearing your thoughts! In the meantime, I wrote a bit about my approach to teaching these topics in my post entitled “Teaching Structural Competency and the Perils of Pretending.” Today I updated that post to include my course syllabus and reference guide. Let me know what you think or if you include any of these exercises in your summer engagement program. Looking forward to continuing this conversation with you!

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