In this week’s lecture, we heard from panelists who are in recovery from addiction; this opportunity had allowed me to better understand the struggles and journeys of individuals in recovery. I also realized just how much stigma and harmful stereotypes were created about people with substance use disorder, and how such stigma and stereotypes have prevented many from getting the support and help that they need. As future healthcare professional, I should keep this idea in mind and be compassionate to patients with addiction or are in recovery. I should not blame all of the substance use issues on a patient’s personal choice; rather, it is important to recognize that substance use disorder is a condition that can cause harms to one’s mental and physical health. I can also volunteer in related programs and help advocate for more accessible, effective treatments for people with addiction.
Right now, I think the most important thing for us to do is to get educated on the topic of substance use disorder, so that we are not ignorant and don’t uphold the stigma/stereotype about people with addiction. As stated in the lecture, addiction is not uncommon among us. So when interacting with people on campus, I should be more caring and recognize that I don’t know everyone’s story. If someone I know is struggling with addiction, I should be a good listener, offer my support, and help them find the resources that they may need.
My question for you guys is: what is your major takeaway from the panel, and how will you incorporate it into your life?
It was a strange thing to read the “Letter to Myself” again. It was only three months ago when I wrote the letter, but it felt like another lifetime – probably because things have changed a lot throughout this semester. When I wrote that letter, I didn’t know how college life would be like, so I just put down a lot of expectations for myself: don’t procrastinate, exercise everyday, get really good grades. Obviously, things have happened differently from my expectations, but they all turned out well. I still procrastinate sometimes, but I definitely have become more responsible for my own tasks and schedule; I also exercise more (not everyday though) and try to eat more healthily (except for chicken tenders because they’re so good). As for my grades, it’s been a little bit of a challenge to keep them up, but I’ve been working hard and actually liking all of my classes. So even though this semester has been busying, I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.
Outside of my classes, I also start to think about my future more seriously. What do I want to study? What do I want to do? So far, I only find out what I don’t like or what I don’t want to do. But that won’t discourage me; instead, I’ll try to do new things, take new classes, and step out of my comfort zone more. Hopefully I’ll find my academic / career passion and commit to it. That being said, I want to be more involved in student orgs or clubs next semester. Because of the workload of my classes, I’ve put extracurricular activities on pause this semester. But now that I’m more used to the campus, I should take advantage of the different activities that the university offers.
Overall, it’s been an unforgettable semester. Always Go Blue!
After viewing the documentary, my eyes were opened to the situations and challenges faced by the patients and healthcare professionals in Ghana. I would argue that culture and healthcare are inseparable, and often time faith / traditional healers do play an important role in a community. Therefore, it is not surprising that many Ghanaian women would prefer to seek help from traditional healers instead of the unfamiliar modern-medical doctors. What saddens me is that so many of these women don’t receive timely, proper treatments, or are exploited by uncaring healthcare providers and self-proclaimed healers. Additionally, the problems and the intransparency of the Peace and Love hospital have raised doubts from multiple patients, and this only increases the fear and distrusts that many Ghanaian people have toward the Western medicine. So I believe that there are many challenges to be overcome in the healthcare industry of Ghana, and some of the strategies should include raising awareness among the Ghanaian communities, having more proper and specialized trainings for healthcare professionals, and reallocating more resources to breast cancer treatments and researches.
Furthermore, the video also illustrated the importance of cultural competency when working in the health care field. When working with people of different backgrounds and treating patients from different communities, it is important to be mindful of the cultural differences and be respectful. Often time we are so used to the “American” way to do things that we become unaware of other cultures and even become ignorant. I also believe that, instead of thinking: “I’m here to change and save these people”, a healthcare provider should be thinking: “I’m here to collaborate with them, to work toward providing better care”, because global health is not about one single savior-doctor, it is about collaboration and serving the people.
My questions for you are:
What are some of the ways that, as a student, you can contribute to the improvement of global health?
If you were a doctor in Ghana, what would you do to encourage more breast cancer patients to seek modern medical services?