My 2013 Answer: Because I and my fellow physicians went into medicine to support the ability of every human being to achieve their life goals. (See original blog post)
My 2017 Answer: Because life is amazing, and we can 🙂 .
For those unfamiliar with Washington, DC, this is the 14th Street, NW walk of fame in front of Whitman-Walker Health (@whitmanwalker – our most awesome planning meeting host), just a few steps down from the former First Lady’s Cycling Studio.
When I had the opportunity to shadow family medicine specialist and Permanente physician Michelle Quiogue, MD (@DrMicheQ) at Kaiser Permanente Kern County recently, I spied this, the first time I have seen the new all gender signage standards in the wild. Prior to this day, I had seen them in the signage standards guide but never in real life.
It was a great an unexpected moment – in Bakersfield, California. Great, almost moving, because I know the feeling of finally being “seen” after being invisible in society – any member of a vulnerable or underrepresented group knows this feeling.
I am reminded by the book “A Fortunate Man,” written in 1967 (!) about a primary care physician in England (see my review of it here, a must read for doctors). In it, the history of medicine and physicians is discussed, and one of the most important roles of physicians in society is to make people feel “comparable to themselves” when it seems they may not be, because of an illness or other condition:
He does more than treat them when they are ill; he is the objective witness of their lives. They seldom refer to him as a witness…that is why I chose the rather humble word clerk: the clerk of their records.
With regard to Bakersfield, usually the most great and unexpected things occur in the places that people don’t think about as much. The same feeling of greatness is true for the family medicine I saw practiced here, except maybe I’d say expectedly great 🙂 . Michelle happens to be the Diversity and Inclusion Leader as well as the Wellness Champion for the Kern County Service Area. And, the incoming President of the California Academy of Family Physicians – hence, the expected and observed greatness.
It was a pleasure to host at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health (@KPTotalHealth) with Rex Miller (@mRexMiller) and friends from Delos (@DelosLiving). I especially appreciate Rex’s approach to these gatherings – everything is open source, just like this blog.
People want to live and work in a healthy environment. People like me want to know what works to make it that way. Rex introduced me to this website, which helps in the critical analysis of what works…
The Well MindShift is a collection of over sixty organizations and one hundred leaders who have assembled to address the crises of workplace health, wellness and well buildings. We see this issue threatening the future viability and prosperity of our corporations and nation. We are a self-organizing cohort representing a diverse cross-section of leaders including subject matter experts, academics, healthcare institutions, corporate, not for profits, authors, service providers and community organizers.
To be present (what the people we serve expect from us)
To spread contagious ideas (walking meetings, respect for others)
To be accountable to the people we serve, which means society (because much of a physician’s education is paid for by society)
The other thing I like to say is that the people who work in health care are exceptional by definition; you have to be in a job this challenging. I could tell on our walks together and in the dialogue that there is no shortage of the drive to be there and be professional for the people we serve, across the health workforce, which includes our allied health professional colleagues.
Enjoy, feel free to embed elsewhere, comments welcome, thank you for the invitation.
The image of “Physician only” on the parking spot may seem to be a sign of EXclusivity but it’s the opposite. The space is located in the absolute farthest part of the parking lot from the building entrance. It’s a sign of INclusivity and support of members and patients at the Kaiser Permanente San Dimas Medical Office in San Dimas, California, USA. And, it’s also kind of a sign of wellness too, because in 2016, having a parking spot farther from a building entrance is health promoting / neurochemical-boosting.
I spied it in what was a cool moment for me, the opportunity to meet Dawn Clark, MD, Physician Chief Wellness Facilitator (@SCPMGPhysicianWellness) for Southern California Permanente Medical Group (@SCPMG). She holds this position in support of thousands of Permanente physicians as part of their wellness program, which you can learn about here.
Dawn is also a practicing OB/Gyn specialist in the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, so you will have to excuse the slightly over/under exposed photo that I asked to take with her in between life activities. We did have the most pleasant walk around San Dimas where I learned about the work this medical group is doing to promote lasting change in the way physicians relate to themselves, their lives, and the environments around them, in service to their patients.
Resilient people and companies face reality with staunchness, make meaning of hardship instead of crying out in despair, and improvise solutions from thin air. Others do not. This is the nature of resilience, and we will never completely understand it. – Coutu DL. How resilience works. Harv. Bus. Rev. 2002;80(5):46.
Even in a (the) highest performing medical groups in the world, wellness and resilience need to be practice, and maybe (probably) that contributes to high performance.
I have a few things on my reading list now and my reflection is that it’s really great to meet physicians who practice introspection and don’t assume anything needs to be the same because it’s the way they learned or were taught it.