Holistic Herbalism for Health Justice

Holistic Herbalism for Health Justice

Since leaving my residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology, I have been researching ways to improve the dominant health care system in the United States. I've come to understand that it's necessary to create a better, parallel system that can support health by addressing the colonial roots of sickness. I grew up in a largely white, middle-class, suburban community on Long Island, so training at Downstate was a welcomed experience of checking my own privilege, power, and biases. It was there then I learned to see that wealth and health are not random, and neither are poverty or sickness. Race and gender matter, as does imperialist and capitalist history.

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Liberty and Justice for All, but Really

Liberty and Justice for All, but Really

More affordable health care would benefit all Americans, but it is misleading to imply that cheaper insurance means healthier lives. The ACA provides concrete benefits and there are opportunities for even greater improvement. For example, it it has been difficult to incentivize young, healthy enrollees to balance the more expensive enrollees. Additionally, there are still millions of undocumented people in this country that need access to basic medical needs, which are not covered under the ACA. 

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Longer Surgery, Greater Risks

Longer Surgery, Greater Risks

Under the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program from 2005 to 2011, more than 1.4 million patients undergoing surgery at US hospitals were observed to see if lengthier surgery durations would affect the risk of developing a blood clot, or venous thromboembolism (VTE). We’ve known that being bound to a hospital bed (common after surgery) is a risk factor for VTEs, but this is the first evidence that surgery duration is a risk factor as well.

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Kidney Shortage for Transplantation

Kidney Shortage for Transplantation

As of this morning almost 102,000 Americans were waiting for a kidney. If that number doesn’t strike you, then consider that this number is 1/3 of the total number of kidneys ever transplanted in the United States.

Only 15,000 of these 100,000 potential recipients are expected to receive a kidney before the end of the year, which means that 85,000 will still be waiting for surgery come the new year.

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Strategie to Increase MMR Vaccinations

Strategie to Increase MMR Vaccinations

In the United States, cases of measles, a highly contagious respiratory disease, are at a 20-year highwith 288 confirmed cases just between January 1 and May 23, 2014. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 90% of these cases were in people who did not have the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine with 85% choosing not to vaccinate due to religious, personal, or philosophical reasons

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Unforseen Vaccine Effects

Unforseen Vaccine Effects

An interesting paradigm is developing in the vaccine literature between specific and non-specific effects of vaccination. Specific vaccine effects give disease protection and are independent of the order in which vaccines are given. Non-specific effects refer to the effects a vaccine might have on the overall immune system, which seems to depend on the order of vaccination.

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Insurable but Uninsured

Insurable but Uninsured

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), known affectionately as Obamacare, promises to insure more, spend less, and achieve better health for all. As one of many medical students who takes care of the uninsured, I have been brainstorming ways to help our patients enroll in New York’s health care exchange. What hadn’t occurred to me is that our patients might opt for our free student-run clinic services instead of coverage under the ACA.

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