The photograph, by the way, was taken when I was enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Executive Leadership Program, operated by the Harvard School of Business Executive Education Program (@HBSExecEd). Besides this time being a moment of record-breaking snowfall, it was also a time of mind- and horizon- expansion for me.
Well, actually every day is like that for me (and it should be for everyone). I snapped a shot every morning, and I specifically remember this one, with a quote from Steve Jobs.
I still feel this way, which is that I/we/humans are often asked directly or indirectly to live someone else’s life – I have been asked this many many (many) times. It seems to frustrate people when people like me/us/humans elect not to do that, and that’s the right choice, and it comes with consequences. That’s all right, though. My generation of physicians came to health care to change everything, and we’d never be successful if we were trapped by dogma.
This week’s photo is an easy choice. It’s a rainbow pride flag flying over Charles Street, Baltimore, MD, USA for 2017 Baltimore Pride. Nothing says visibility like a rainbow flag. Plenty of transgender pride flags as well, many many more than this same event 4 years ago.
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.