us public health service

On Being a Non-Native

Dear Tumblr,

I am surrounded by beauty.  Each day I am greeted by the sun rising over the mountains on my morning walk to work.  Weekend hikes take me to awe-inspiring views.  This is sharply contrasted by the people I am here to serve.  People who are marginalized and forgotten about by most of society.  People who have welcomed me into their lives.

I elected to spend a month working for the Indian Health Service because, quite frankly, I am ignorant about Native Americans.  I come from a white, middle class background and my exposure to cultures not my own is lacking.  Though many of my peers are seeking to do audition rotations or overseas trips for 4th year, I wanted to broaden my experiences here in my own country.  So my girlfriend and I packed up the car and drove to our assigned Native American reservation.

The health problems here are dramatic.  Crime and violence reach rates seen in downtown L.A.  Patients are brought to the Emergency Department with BACs of 0.80 and walk out with BACs of 0.40 (for the record you are considered driving impaired when your BAC is 0.08).  Some areas of the reservation seem more like 3rd world countries in regards to poverty and living condition.  The impact of western culture is ever present in the sky-high diabetes rates.  

But the people are kind and noble.  They are more than the statistics presented about their population.  They are intelligent, yet quiet.  After just a few weeks I am finding myself comfortable in their presence, and more adept at making them comfortable in mine.  My introduction now includes a brief joke; my interview is less direct than what I might use with anglo people in my own community. 

The hospital we work for is small enough that providers literally work in all departments.  Board certified pediatricians see adults; internists see pregnant patients.  Hospital Wi-Fi is non-existent, and sometimes the internet is so slow we use paper charts.  It is a magical community where doctors practice the type of medicine I dreamt about before med school.  My heart feels a longing to stay in this simpler place forever. 

But this cannot last.  Before long I have to return to the hustle and bustle of an academic medical center.  My hospital has its own magic, thought it has lost its luster from the hours and hours I have spent inside its walls.  Perhaps it will seem a bit shinier when I return; or perhaps I will shine a bit brighter from this experience.  And maybe I will return one day, to this mountain hospital.  But for now I have to begin preparing for my next big training adventure.  

T-minus 6 months until I officially become an MD.      

Hopefully I will have time to write more about my experiences in the coming days.

Always yours,

The Disagreeable Doctor

The Fat Liberation Manifesto

1. WE believe that fat people are fully entitled to human respect and recognition.

2. WE are angry at mistreatment by commercial and sexist interests. These have exploited our bodies as objects of ridicule, thereby creating an immensely profitable market selling the false promise of avoidance of, or relief from, that ridicule.

3. WE see our struggle as allied with the struggles of other oppressed groups against classism, racism, sexism, ageism, financial exploitation, imperialism and the like.

4. WE demand equal rights for fat people in all aspects of life, as promised in the Constitution of the United States. We demand equal access to goods and services in the public domain, and an end to discrimination against us in the areas of employment, education, public facilities and health services.

5. WE single out as our special enemies the so-called “reducing” industries. These include diet clubs, reducing salons, fat farms, diet doctors, diet books, diet foods and food supplements, surgical procedures, appetite suppressants, drugs and gadgetry such as wraps and “reducing machines”.

WE demand that they take responsibility for their false claims, acknowledge that their products are harmful to the public health, and publish long-term studies proving any statistical efficacy of their products. We make this demand knowing that over 99% of all weight loss programs, when evaluated over a five-year period, fail utterly, and also knowing the extreme proven harmfulness of frequent large changes in weight.

6. WE repudiate the mystified “science” which falsely claims that we are unfit. It has both caused and upheld discrimination against us, in collusion with the financial interests of insurance companies, the fashion and garment industries, reducing industries, the food and drug industries, and the medical and psychiatric establishment.

7. WE refuse to be subjugated to the interests of our enemies. We fully intend to reclaim power over our bodies and our lives. We commit ourselves to pursue these goals together.

FAT PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, UNITE! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE ….

By Judy Freespirit and Aldebaran
November, 1973
Copyright The Fat Underground

Watch on pubhealth.tumblr.com

US Hospital For Health Workers To Open in Liberia

The critical care facility will treat medical workers in Liberia who contract Ebola. (From ABC News)
Fat Liberation Manifesto

 1. WE believe that fat people are fully entitled to human respect and recognition.

2. WE are angry at mistreatment by commercial and sexist interests. These have exploited our bodies as objects of ridicule, thereby creating an immensely profitable market selling the false promise of avoidance of, or relief from, that ridicule.

3. WE see our struggle as allied with the struggles of other oppreressed groups against classism, racism, sexism, ageism, financial exploitation, imperialism and the like.

4. WE demand equal rights for fat people in all aspects of life, as promised in the Constitution of the United States. We demand equal access to goods and services in the public domain, and an end to discrimination against us in the areas of employment, education, public facilities and health services.

5. WE single out as our special enemies the so-called “reducing” industries. These include diet clubs, reducing salons, fat farms, diet doctors, diet books, diet foods and food supplements, surgical procedures, appetite suppressants, drugs and gadgetry such as wraps and “reducing machines”.

WE demand that they take responsibility for their false claims, acknowledge that their products are harmful to the public health, and publish long-term studies proving any statistical efficacy of their products. We make this demand knowing that over 99% of all weight loss programs, when evaluated over a five-year period, fail utterly, and also knowing the extreme proven harmfulness of frequent large changes in weight.

6. WE repudiate the mystified “science” which falsely claims that we are unfit. It has both caused and upheld discrimination against us, in collusion with the financial interests of insurance companies, the fashion and garment industries, reducing industries, the food and drug industries, and the medical and psychiatric establishment.

7. WE refuse to be subjugated to the interests of our enemies. We fully intend to reclaim power over our bodies and our lives. We commit ourselves to pursue these goals together.


FAT PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, UNITE! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE ….
By Judy Freespirit and Aldebaran
November, 1973


I feel it’s time to remind our readers that the Fat Liberation movement existed in the 1970s.