Q&A: Rising Fourth Year Student

Scott Fabricant - Understanding Dimensions of Diversity


After all this tremendous upheaval, we have hopefully learned a few lessons that will carry forward. First and foremost, I hope we've learned how precarious employment-based insurance is. People lose their income and health security in one cut. We will also hopefully learn not to balance hospital budgets on the backs of elective surgeries. And as a bonus, silly regulations on medications for opioid use disorder can stay relaxed, and more unnecessary appointments can be skipped or done remotely!

Don't be a bystander. If you see a need, and it is within your power to do something about it, then do something. Don't sit around and wait for someone else to do it, because everyone else is probably thinking the same thing. But the flipside is to know your limits, mind your personal/professional safety, and look to collaborate with like-minded folks to lighten everyone's burden.

While volunteering has helped fill the time, it certainly doesn't reduce stress! So, I seek a balance; volunteering makes me feel useful but adds stress, while playing video games reduces stress but too much makes me feel lazy. Lately I've been going on a nostalgia deep-dive, replaying several generations of Pokemon. It's single-player, light-hearted, and the only context lately in which you want to catch something.

Diversity, in all sorts of dimensions. There are my classmates, who beyond having a high level of racial, socioeconomic, and cultural diversity also have a wealth of diversity with regards to lived experience and perspective. Our teaching hospital has a wide diversity of specialties available for us to get early exposure. Our patients come from across the world and have a range of uncommon pathology you won't see in most other institutions. Above all I've learned so much from just listening to stories, from my professors, my classmates, and my patients.

Pre-Covid, most of my extracurricular activities were focused around improving the pipeline of low-barrier treatment for people who use drugs. Medicine has come a long way from its paternalizing roots, but many clinicians still see people who use drugs as less-than-whole, patients whose choices forfeit full respect and autonomy of care. And in our culture of defensive medicine, "don't get fooled by the drug-seeker" gets prioritized, to the detriment of patients who are often in real pain from injury or withdrawal. My message to my peers is this: When it is our turn, remember to see all patients, including your drug user patients, as fully human, due the respect and pain control you'd afford all.