Annual Education Program: What Medicine Could Be, Should Be

For those individuals seeking a greater understanding of what the interplay of medicine, physicians, patients, and society could be, and perhaps should be, the MMS’s Annual Education Program today provided fertile territory and thought-provoking time well spent. Patients First – Social Accountability: The Mission of Medicine was moderated by Liz Walker, former television journalist and founder of the Walker Group.

From pilot/lawyer/ABC television airline analyst John Nance (“Doctors have to lead; if you don’t lead we’re never going to get where we want to go.”), to the CDC’s Dr. Camara Jones (citing the many and varied social determinants of health, how disparities arise, and the impact of racism on health), to the University of British Columbia’s Dr. Robert Woollard (“Professionalism is the basis of medicine’s contract with society.”), the primary presenters offered their views of the hits and misses of healthcare in society today and how medicine and physicians can get much closer to their intended target – the patient.

A posting of a few hundred words here falls far short of doing justice to the participants and the quality of their presentations. But here are some snippets to tantalize:

John Nance: “The point of differentiation between aviation and medicine is that one has learned to standardize and one has not.”

Dr. Jones: “Health equity is the assurance of conditions for optimal health for all people. It requires valuing people equally, recognizing and rectifying historical injustices, and providing resources to meet those needs.”

Dr. Woollward: “Medical schools in the 21st century faces a series of challenges, including improving quality and equity, and reducing the mismatch with societal priorities.”

Additional presentations on such topics as the consequences of urban trauma on health care reform, social issues of health care, patient expectations and needs and accountable care organizations, and fiscal responsibilities came during a panel discussion with additional participants.

Those who attended the event are likely richer for the experience; those who missed it may capture its essence here.

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