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In Letters from an American Farmer, Michele Jean de Crèvecoeur, an immigrant to the United States, defined and popularized the concept of America as a melting pot. Crèvecoeur articulates, “. . . Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.” Diversity is so much more than physical differences; it is simply being different, yet supporting and embracing this difference. This Saturday Academy began by discussing diversity in the context of culture and culture differences. The UPP cohort watched a film on the American Indians/Native Americans and discussed key aspects of their culture. By defining key terms, such as imposing, exposing, assimilation, and culturation, the UPP cohort was able to analyze the injustices that occurred to Native Americans, how to prevent such injustices from reoccurring, and how to embrace our differences. After the discussion, it became clear that diversity must be embraced, and anything that threatens its existence be destroyed. In the afternoon, the UPP cohort listened to a public health presentation on the United States health system. The presentation included a discussion of current U.S. health statistics, key aspects of the U.S. health system, and the Affordable Care Act, colloquially coined Obamacare. The speaker elucidated key parts of the Affordable Care Act and the U.S. health system. From this, I learned that the United States spends more money per capita than most other modernized and industrialized nations, yet our quality of care pales in comparison. This is the most pressing healthcare issue of our time. In retrospect, this Saturday Academy was very informational and I look forward to the November Saturday Academy.
Watched Hozco, a video on the current state of Native Americans
Medhat: Discussed Public Health in the United States and the Affordable Care Act
Today I learned a lot about how assimilation is closely linked to different healthcare issues, and public health regarding the ACA. All throughout the summer, we had countless discussions on the topic of healthcare disparities. Before I had started this program, I had no idea what a healthcare disparity was, but now I see how vital it is to be mindful of such disparities. Specifically today, we got the chance to talk about big issues today that involve Native Americans and the problems they face regarding their health. The overlying discussion we had was about assimilation and imposing vs exposing beliefs. It seemed to me that many other fellows were either saying assimilation can be good OR bad. I, on the other hand, think it can be good and bad. For example, I explained how if a culture has a “bad” custom, it would be a good thing if they assimilated to a culture that doesn’t do that same “bad” custom. For example, how could anybody say that changing someone’s belief in the sacrifice of infant children, although they may identify with that custom, is a impermissable? The important point is not that if assimilation is bad or good, but what the means are of accomplishing a beneficial assimilation. If we take the example of someone’s belief that the sacrifice of infant children is normal, and Western culture thinks that is absurd, than it is definitely a good thing for that culture to assimilate to the Western belief of not sacrificing children. However, if we tie their hands down, and throw them in jail so they don’t sacrifice children, that is not good either. This gets to the point of exposing vs imposing. It is important that we don’t impose (or force) our beliefs onto others, but rather expose them, and show people how much better they may be in hopes of getting rid of potentiall harmful customs. One thing that I want to take home with me today is that as a future healthcare provider, it is important that I am aware of other people’s beliefs, and to assume that their beliefs are right until these beliefs directly intercede with my duty as a healthcare provider. After all, I will be a healthcare provider, and if the health of a patient is dependent on their beliefs, than it is my duty to care for that.
Another thing we had a discussion today about was the fate of our healthcare system with regards to the Affordable Care Act. This was certainly an enriching talk because the ACA is all over the news, and it will have a significant impact on healthcare in the future. It was cool to see the distribution of where the money in healthcare is going, and how it is being spent. I realize the goal of the United States Health System is to 1) Improve access, 2) improve quality, and 3) control costs. In simple terms, it appears to me that the ACA will certainly fulfill point one, but points two and three might be up in the air, but I need to be more informed before I make any claims that are unreasonable. Overall, I now understand more of what Public Health professionals do. The healthcare system is extremely complex, and looking at it as an overview can tell us a lot about the current state of healthcare.
Unfortunately, this week's Saturday Academy did not exceed my expectations as the last one had.
Although I was extremely intrigued by the video that we watched about Native Americans, I felt that our discussions could have been more organized and better led. Perhaps this lack of consistency and smoothness in the presentations was due to the fact that our original speaker canceled her session and we were following the backup plan.
It was quite disheartening to learn that those who proceeded us in leading this nation inflicted such harm to neighboring ethnic groups. Could you imagine being a Native American child growing up on a reservation? What stories would you hear about the land of our ancestors? How would you view Caucasians? How would you view the confining reservations? Beyond that, how would you feel as a parent if your five-year-old child was stripped from you and forced to attend a boarding school? What if your child came back white-washed because their instructors beat them for expressing their heritage? These are some questions that we don't often remind ourselves of. But perhaps by pondering the answers to these questions, we can live more as people of this world. By attempting to experience the pain experienced by these Native Americans and by attempting to empathize with them, I believe that we can be more culturally competent and compassionate towards foreigners with beliefs and practices that we don't understand.
During the second half of this Saturday Academy, Medhat presented the Affordable Care Act. He was very precise in explaining his data and enlightening us about where health care money comes from and what it is spent on within the United States. I was shocked and displeased to find that our nation spends more money and more %GDP on health care, but we are only ranked 38th in the world.
When I found out that our original topic for this Saturday Academy session was cancelled because the speaker was unable to come, I was actually glad. We had originally been scheduled to start "Personal Statement Part I," which I am absolutely sure would have been very productive and beneficial for a bunch of pre-med, pre-dent, etc. students. However, although I believe I am a decent writer, I also believe that I am a much worse self-assesser. I have attempted to write a personal statement before, and even having gone through a couple of drafts and a few rewrites, I always feel as if the end product is just a little phony, a little sentimental, and not quite a reflection of my true self and my true reason for wanting to be a doctor.
I think that there are several reasons for my personal statement-phobia. For one, I do not think I can say for certain that I am one hundred percent committed to going to medical school. Of course I think I am, and I say I am, but really, what sheltered 21 year-old can make that sort of statement with absolute certainty? Having never committed any sort of serious, multi-year effort to any one cause, how can I definitively say I want to undergo at least six years of intensive sleep-deprivation and brain trauma? Also, as difficult as I think it is to be honest in general, it has to be at least three times as tough to be truly honest with yourself. I am so insecure about some of my personal weaknesses that I literally start to squirm when I start thinking about them. I guess I am afraid that if I truly examine my character traits and how they align with the demands of medical school and being a physician, I just might realize that the whole deal just isn't for me. What then?
Anyway, instead of getting started on our personal statements, our cohort instead watched an informative documentary on the topic of Native Americans and their less-than-ideal interactions with the American health care system.
The Native Americans, or "Indians" as we call them, underwent an absolute genocide. When we think about the concept of genocide, we usually think about the Jews during the Holocaust, or Darfur, or Rwanda, but it seems as if the fact that as many as 90% of 100 or so million Native Americans were killed through a combination of warfare, starvation, and plague directly following the arrival of Columbus is often swept under the rug in the American media and history textbooks.
As if an apocalypse weren't enough, many Native Americans children were forced to go to boarding schools that attempted to eliminate their culture through propaganda and brainwashing. Now, a historically proud people has been largely relegated to reservations, which are essentially a bunch of mini-third world countries in the United States.
One of the main themes throughout our UPP program has been the subject of health disparities within the United States. At various times, we have learned about differential access to healthcare among different ethnic groups. Watching this documentary on Native Americans as well as discussing it with our cohort brought me much closer to actually wrapping my head around this concept and the problems it causes.
The second half of our session on Saturday consisted of a Powerpoint presentation and discussion on the subject of the health care system and reform in the United States, led by Medhat Ahmed. This was a subject that, fortunately, I had read up on a bit a few weeks before on Wikipedia. I also had a paper due in a couple of days on a related topic, so I thought I at least had a basic level of understanding of the main issues. However, I have learned that the issue of health care reform in the United States is a massively complicated series of problems that no amount of Wikipedia browsing can truly address. An actual solution to the health care problem in the United States would have to incorporate elements of politics, sociology, economics, psychology, and enough logistics and law to make the Lincoln Lawyer puke.
Our session was running long, so the presentation and discussion among our cohort was cut a bit short, but all in all, the healthcare reform segment was informative and useful.
The October 27th Saturday Academy turned out to be rather enjoyable. I was glad we were able to talk about a couple of relatively interesting, important topics, and the discussion was very lively among our cohort members. At one point, we had a completely unproductive, ten minute discussion on the semantics and definitions of "imposing" your beliefs on someone else and just "exposing" it. I think our cohort is getting pretty comforable with each other. Overall, I thought this Saturday Academy brought some interesting topics to our attention and provided an excellent excuse for putting off my personal statement for another day.
Although I enjoyed being with all of the fellows at this academy, my reaction to the entire day was not at a high. I was aware that the personal statement writing workshop part 1 had been canceled (which I was excited about), but the videos and discussion was an ever worse alternative in my opinion. We began the day with watching a film on Native Americans and their culture. The short film itself was interesting and captivating, but I was disappointed by the discussion. While our discussion only hit three main points, many of the arguments presented seemed tautological in nature. There is no doubt that all of the fellows agreed about how Native Americans were treated harshly and unjustly, but the discussion seemed to only cover superficial levels. I am not sure if the discussion only seemed uni-level to myself (I am a Sociology major and we always try to push further to the root causes and relationships when it comes to these types of things) or if this feeling was shared among my peers. The film, as previously stated, was phenomenal. I was impressed that it touched on many stereotypes about Native American culture. What particularly stood out to me was the emphasis they placed on acknowledging each tribe as a separate culture (being Native American and Irish, I have always found people who think of all tribes as a single culture ignorant and rude). They also emphasized how people from each tribe could look completely different. I have light hair, light skin, and blue eyes, but this does not change my lineage. I have found in the past that only people who look like me recognize my lineage. I was also mesmerized by how certain Native Americans referred to marriage before exposure to outside cultures. When a man married a woman, he referred to her as his skin and that when she died, a part of him died. After exposure to outside cultures, however, there were many instances where women were looked upon more as property among Native Americans. I am glad to know some people in my family who still thing of their significant other in this traditional sense, rather than as the less romanticized one. It gives me hope that not all of culture dies after forced assimilation into the dominant culture. The later part of the day focused on a short presentation about the U.S. Health System (or lack of a system). While I was less involved in this portion of the day, I thought the points presented were extremely important and that, under different circumstances, I would like to observe this presentation again, perhaps with the aid of an interactive portion (as with most of our presentations). Despite the day not being what I had hoped for, the Undergraduate Pre-Health Program always makes me feel glad to be a part of something larger than myself. I am excited for the next academy for the book presentations, as well as the academy in December that is Holiday Sweater Saturday Academy!
This weekend marked another exciting learning opportunity with the University Pre-Health Program. This Saturday Academy started off with an eye-opening documentary about the health disparities that are prevalent among Native Americans. This documentary recounted early Native American culture and then chronicled the demise of this natural culture via forced assimilation by white Americans. Young Native American children were taken away from their culture and forced into American boarding schools where they were stripped of their identity. The motto of the day was “Kill the Indian, save the man.” The reminiscence of learning of these tragic events in addition to learning new atrocities, led to some interesting discussions among the group. A couple of the discussion topics brought to light include the definition of identity, assimilation vs. acculturation, and exposing vs. imposing. Health diseases that affect Native Americans at a disproportionate rate compared to other ethnic groups, such as obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, hypertension, and depression, were discussed and solutions debated. Biases about the Native American people were revealed and discussed as well. This documentary did a great job of educating on Native American culture, revealing the tragedies that this beautiful culture had to endure, teaching how to best provide healthcare for members of this culture, and warning of potential biases that could interfere with stellar healthcare. The second part of the day was learning about the Affordable Care Act, which aims to provide quality and affordable healthcare for all U.S. citizens. I found it very surprising that the United States pays the most in healthcare but it’s quality of services is far below that of other countries. The presentation on the ACA brought up some very important matters that showed us that there are a lot of flaws in the current healthcare system in the United States. Both the documentary and the ACA presentation brought up the common theme of health disparities. It is evident that we as a country need to do more to ensure improved quality of care for all people. This Saturday Academy also showed the importance of working at the individual level to stay updated on current health disparities and immerse oneself in knowledge of other cultures to better provide quality healthcare.
Native American Cultural Awareness and Health Disparities
Current US Healthcare
I found this month’s Saturday Academy to be very beneficial and enlightening despite the use of any outside guest speakers. I think it’s important to learn how to improvise in an adverse situation—in our case, a cancelled personal statement workshop. We were able to take a day with not many plans and utilize our time in discussion. I enjoy debate and discussion so, while not the entire discussion was productive, there were some topics we were able to capitalize on. The documentary on Native Americans brought out some great discussion concerning Indian reserves and the health disparities and poor living conditions that they reside in. I learned a lot about their culture that I never knew—such as, the fact that some reserves are independent of the national government even though they reside in the United States. The logistics of the exact laws and regulations are not well known amongst our group of members but the few things we could piece out made for an interesting perspective of their life. They have no healthcare benefits and even if they do they have no access to healthcare. The nearest medical facility can be as much as hundreds of miles away and if they don’t have reliable transportation that is unfeasible to expect them to get there. Furthermore, say they made it to the healthcare facility, who’s to say they would trust the doctor they barely know enough to act on any advice. They may not be able to access their medicines, their culture beliefs will dictate their lifestyle and they probably won’t change some of their unhealthy habits. This makes sense as to why diabetes is common—their nutrition is poor and they do not have the resources to change the way they prepare food or what they have access too. Also, I wasn’t aware, until this discussion, of the use of illegal drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. We target them and point this out, but in reality there are communities we live in which abuse these substances the same way. So why do we think it’s okay to scrutinize them for the same behavior just because they are localized and segregated instead of mixed in the crowded areas of urban cities. I think its good for us to be exposed to other cultures, like the Native Americans, that differ from the traditional study of Mexican and African American societies which I feel are more well-known and explored. I think the government should implement rural medical tracks that specifically target these groups of people and in return pay for a student’s education.
Finally, we talked briefly about the US Healthcare and engaged in some discussion. I was intrigued by the discussion because there is so much going on and changing it is hard to keep up without some assistance from individuals who are able to study it more effectively and thoroughly. It’s unfortunate this discussion was rushed. I feel like we could have spent a whole day on healthcare and get into some great discussion. I felt like the presentation became one-sided at the end and in the season of politics, with the election coming up, I would have really liked to hear pros and cons and both sides of the issue. I have always been the type of person that likes to play devil’s advocate or hear someone else’s thoughts to consider opposed to my own. Especially, the fact that for most of the people in the room this was going to be their first election voting. I feel like this discussion should have been put off or fully explored but not just rushed through. It either would turn people on that are easily impressionable or turn people off who shut down and don’t consider an “opponents” view. To fix this most easily, both sides of a hot issue like this should be presented in a tolerable and open and safe environment to debate and discuss to get the most out of it. Overall, this was a great opportunity to gather and meet and as always it’s great to see everyone and have all the members together once a month. I am enjoying the continuity of the members of UPP and I think we all have a lot to benefit from each other and I am excited to continue to learn and grow in this collaborative setting!
On the second Saturday Academy of the year, we watched an informative video about Native American culture, history, how their culture and lifestyles have been affected by assimilation and acculturation, and how they are treated today. I thought the video was fairly interesting. It made me realize that, while I have learned a lot about minorities, there is still a lot that I don’t know about the plight about Native Americans. This was significant for me because my high school mascot was the Redskins, represented by an Indian chief with a flowing headdress. When I was in La Veta, there were a few attempts to change the mascot to something more politically correct. These attempts were shot down by “old-timers” who couldn’t bear to part with their beloved mascot. I always acknowledged that calling Native Americans “Redskins” was moderately racist, and that it probably had the potential to offend people. On the other hand, I had never met anyone who was offended by my choice of mascot, and I had met probably a total of two Native Americans in my life. To me, the use of “Redskins” was not meant to degrade anyone, and it never seemed like an enormous issue. I was never very active in trying to change the mascot. Now, however, I am wondering if I should have cared more about the effect that it may have had on other people. In the video that we watched on Saturday, some of the Native Americans being interviewed mentioned that they preferred to not be called “Indians”. If they don’t like being called “Indians”, I can only imagine how they would respond to being called “Redskins”.
This past Saturday reminded me why I enjoy the company of my fellow UPP members. I have never been in a group of people that is so willing to think critically about topics and to discuss them seriously and intelligently. I don’t know if Medhat anticipated the response that he would get from the videos that he showed, but I think that he approved of the way that we took the opportunity to delve deeply into the issues of racism, assimilation, etc. As a cohort, we did not just discuss the basic topics of the video. Instead, we brought up new, controversial topics that allowed for serious ethical debates that went on for hours. I thought it was fascinating how everyone came up with valid points, and that we were all so intelligent, but that we managed to still disagree. Some of us, in fact, managed to be quite passionate about what we were debating about. This shows promise for the future of the world. What would the world be without passionate debates that cause people to think and to create new ideas? I am so impressed by our cohort.
After the video, Medhat presented us with an overview of the United States healthcare system. I thought this was great, and I wished that more time could have been devoted to this. Healthcare is such a huge issue in our country right now. I just voted, but I am ashamed to admit that I would have a hard time accurately explaining the differences between the healthcare plans of the two candidates. I really wish that I knew more, and Medhat’s presentation was a good start. At this point in my life, I still am not the informed citizen that I want to be, and I want to move in this direction.
Given that the original workshop, discussing and learning more about how to write a successful personal statement, was canceled due to a last minute schedule conflict, the backup plan executed was insightful and informative on a variety of levels. Watching the documentary on the plight of the Native Americans emphasized two important concepts to me. First, it emphasized how large of a role stereotypes and prejudice play in any of our learning environment – as children we are socialized to make pre-judgments about individuals, forming opinions before even talking or interacting on them as it is what we witness occurring, and is a primitive manner in which we learn and make connections. This isn't to say, however, that they are not inherently good, ethical, or beneficial in anyways. It is to say that in order to act in accordance with the field of study we all plan on entering, we have to recognize the biases we've formed based on our pre-judgments and our stereotyping of individuals, so as to not reinforce the stigmatization they hold on those we may interact with in the future. Second, it emphasized the idea that there is always something we don’t know about happening in the world; that, even if we are aware of its occurrence, we may not know the extent to which it is plaguing the individuals involved. To further elaborate, I knew that these inequalities existed for the Native Americans in our society, but I was unaware of the degree to which it was affecting them. Just from this, I've realized that it is improbable for one individual to change the systems of inequality entrenched within our society, but one individual can change their actions to reduce that inequality in their own community by the way they interact with individuals facing the health disparities or inequalities. The second part of the day we briefly discussed the Affordable Care Act, which is something I knew little about coming into the internship, and am still fuzzy on how it works in its entirety. I hope to take more time to look over the ACA to fully understand its tenants and what its implication will do for our society as a whole.
This Saturday Academy although pretty laid back was still extremely informative. We started off with a movie about Native Americans. It was interesting that learn the stereotypes for that ethnic group. I have a mix of Cherokee and Apache on both sides of my family. The part of the movie that I could definitely relate to is the part when they said Native Americans are characterized by high cheek bones. Throughout my life I have also been asked what country I am from. Because of my facial features and red color in my skin I was never thought or classified of as a "Normal African American". Sometimes the questions relating to my ethnicity could become aggravating but I have learned to embrace all my melting pot of ethnicity within me. I find that it would extremely hard to live in the times of my ancestors (both Native American and African American). To be told where to go to school, what to say, and how to think would be very hard for me. Even though I am an introvert I can be VERY outspoken at times. Personally, I don’t think I would have survived during those times because of the person I am now. I don’t get how people could be restricted of things as simple as medical care because of who they are. In my mind, everyone is a person and everyone deserves to be treated the same regardless of their background. Seeing movie that reflect on the past must be seen and taken in with an open heart and the realization that this is the past and hopefully our culture is moving forward on a more positive note. In the second portion of academy it was interesting to learn how our medical industry works. I didn’t realize that 35% of the money from our medical industry comes from private insurance. Even though that is not a large number I thought the percentage of people who even had private insurance was much lower than that. The other thing I found interesting was that only 6% of that money goes to nursing homes as well only 31% goes to hospitals. I thought those numbers would be more especially the hospital portion. To go into emergency rooms, especially University Hospital, and see how many are waiting to get care as well as the fact that the inpatient ward is always at full capacity I thought that at least 60% or more went to just hospitals alone. The Affordable Care Act seems to be a good plan as long as it can be accomplished. Everyone should have some type of medical coverage as we never know what will happen to us in a medical sense. It is good that young adults can be covered by their parents up till the age of 26. I can remember when I was a young adult the idea of having to figure out a way to pay health insurance was one that I didn’t want to and hence I didn’t have coverage. The pre-existing condition one is very important to me. My mother has many medical issues that she has to deal with and not being able to get insurance because of these issues would be detrimental to her. The doubling of heath care center capacities is also a good one. I can remember when University Hospital was just built that it was a massive hospital but quickly realized that it just wasn’t big enough I hope that the expansion that is being done currently will eliminate wait times for people as well as the ability to have a private room while they recover from their medical issues. Lastly, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility is also a good tactic. There are so many people in this world that are not in a poverty status but still unable to afford healthcare through their employer. Even if coverage is provided it doesn’t mean it’s good and if something does happen to them they would be able to afford their portion of their medial bill. I leaned a tremendous amount of information from this academy.
Saturday’s Academy introduced a new topic that not many students are familiar with including me. The topic of healthcare is often discussed but never truly analyzed. The speaker gave a brief introductory background on the healthcare system that is currently in use in the United States and a brief analysis on the implications it has had on all socioeconomic standpoints. The presenter used power points to discuss its effects on health disparities here in the United States. Intrigued by this system, I went back home to discuss the current program with my parents who were born in Mexico. My father has a sister who is a doctor back in Mexico who is familiar with the healthcare system there. In Mexico, there is no line or wait for general practitioners, often times my aunt is always busy because the clinic is constantly receiving patients for simple checkups. Only the patients who can afford the best get what they pay for. The government back in Mexico is very corrupt so medicine has at times been harmed by bribery. Learning about the health care system here in the United States is a refreshing topic that is often debated and although the Affordable Health Care Act is a good installment as a step towards better healthcare, the US government should look into better methods that can help purify the system.
We also watched a video on Native Americans and how their culture has been affected by immigrants from the European colonies. It is important to be familiar with patients who come from varying backgrounds because the provider will never know if they are doing something offensive. Providers must also look into non-harmful methods that the patient would like to receive prior to the treatment that should be utilized. Communication is important. The discussion of culture is interesting because that is what often times distinguishes a group and a society. Language is another distinguisher that applies to culture. These two go hand in hand and can often times cause barriers towards providers. My father would always tell me how difficult it was at first adjusting to the United States and how often times miscommunications with co-workers would develop into conflicts. To avoid these, I believe it is critical to have trained translators that are very familiar with the respected culture and language. The video emphasized how diverse and historical the Native American population was and still is. The video served more as a historical background and analysis on the beauty of the culture rather than how to provide for the culture as a whole. The Native American people are just one example of a very diverse community that United States has, and it is crucial for the provider to be first familiar with the patients they will be treating, especially if the procedure is important.
In short, this past Saturday academy focused on several issues corresponding to our current healthcare system, as well as some of the proposed solutions. On top of this, we discussed the disparities associated the Native American population and the hardships they faced as they were forced to assimilate into Western culture. Although my expectations for this past Saturday academy were not entirely met, due to a disappointing set of content for the day, there were still a few, key lessons to be derived. Many of the discussions that took place during the session were not the most enlightening; however, interesting points made involve the negative impacts of assimilation, as well as other disparities that Native American tribes have historically faced, and still deal with present day. Though I was sympathetic towards the maltreatment of the Native Americans and their tribes, I could not help but wonder if assimilation should only be seen in a negative light. It is true that the events that took place in the past regarding Native American tribes were horrific; however, assimilation, and globalization even, creates bridges by which different populations and cultures are able to communicate. This is not to say that one should neglect their own heritage when attempting to integrate into a new society, nor does this mean that the past actions against the Native Americans were legitimate. However, In short, it is not entirely assimilation that is bad; rather, it is the poor treatment of others and the forcing of a population to give up their culture for a new one, as seen in the unfortunate case of the Native Americans, that should instead be frowned upon.
I spent another day with the Undergraduate Pre-Health Program (UPP) Saturday Academy at Anschutz Medical Campus—October 27, 2012. On this Saturday Academy we started by watching a video about American Indians/Native Americans and then watched and engaged in a presentation about the American healthcare system.
I remember learning about the Native American culture throughout my elementary, middle and some high school education. Having parents who immigrated to the United States, I did not learn much about the American history from them but from the educational institutes. The video that we watched was a review of what I had learned previously—Native American culture and their interactions with European settlers and their current standing in the United States. However, through this video, we got a perspective of the healthcare disparities and issues that Native Americans face which is something I had never looked into. As all of us are striving to be future healthcare providers, I believe this was a great video to watch. I believe the best way to deal with these and others healthcare disparities is by taking the time to get to know individuals separately in order to understand how to best help everyone on an individual basis. I understand this is much harder said than done as this type of care takes more time yet I do feel it is a necessity. I believe this was discussed in a great deal throughout The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks presentations we did in the beginning of the summer. Reviewing what he had learned, just through a Native American perspective, is a great way to reinforce our learning. Some further conversations that were sparked after this video included talking about imposing and exposing others beliefs along with assimilation.
Being aware of the American healthcare system is something all Americans should be familiar with; however, as future healthcare providers and leaders I believe we should be particularly familiar with the system. Overall the American healthcare system has goals to improve access and quality while controlling costs. As many of us are aware and affected, the current system has many flaws that need to be dealt with. There is no clear solution to these issues, which is why young Americans need to have debates and discussions about the system in order to come up with the best healthcare solution possible. In this Saturday Academy we discussed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the benefits it would have to our society.
Overall, I enjoyed how the UPP activities we participated in this Saturday complemented each other. First, we watched a video that showed one culture’s real life and present issues within our healthcare system, and then we talked about the ACA and the American healthcare system. Walking away from this Saturday Academy, I am now more aware of both healthcare disparities in the US and the American healthcare system.
This Saturday Academy was very educational, but truly did not meet my expectations of what a Saturday Academy should be. I enjoyed learning about the struggles Native Americans have gone through, but I felt as though the discussion was not fully set up for everyone to share their true opinions on how they felt about the subject. I understand the original speaker cancelled at the last minute, but the entire cohort was not fully focused enough because of this transition to conquer difficult conversations about the Native Americans. I do believe all of us tried our best to get into the mindset to talk about the Native Americans, but we did not achieve this task. This session brought up great topics to discuss with the fellow UPP interns, but these conversations only took place outside of the actual session. Because of this I believe that the session was useful but needed better planning. Along with this, I feel as though this topic should have been brought up at a later time when the cohort was closer and more trusting of one another.
In the second portion of the day, we tackled the topic of health care. I am extremely interested in what the health care system is and what it will become in the next couple of years. I found it interesting to hear that the United States is only ranked 38th in the world for health care, and would love to get more information about how other countries maintain and run their health care systems. Unfortunately this part of the day was rushed because everyone wanted to leave early. This part did not fit to the standards I have for the Undergraduate Prehealth Program.
Overall, through UPP I can see myself growing more mature in my views of diversity and cultural differences. I am seeing myself become more understanding of other cultures, and even more accepting of the ways and traditions of different cultures. Education is truly the key to understanding and most importantly accepting other cultures. Every time I have met with UPP or with anyone involved I have become aware new things about diversity and how I can positively use this new information in my own life.
This week’s Saturday academy was a bit shorter than intended due to a change in plans, but ultimately I am happy about what I learned this week. The day started off with all of us watching a video that dealt with Native American history and culture. Although I knew quite a bit about Native American culture already, this video was a great refresher and really got me thinking about the intersection of health care and their culture. As I saw in the discussion, this video pushed many people to really think about what it means to accept others’ cultures and how assimilation impacts many groups of people. A question that got brought up during our discussion was: “How necessary is it to assimilate, and what is the difference between assimilation and acculturation?” Many of the class members argued that it is important to adopt the culture of a country you are visiting or moving to, and they believed that it is necessary for people to assimilate. I personally believe that it is important for people to hold on to their culture and background regardless of where they are geographically, but acculturation important and almost necessary. Acculturation is different from assimilation in that it implies being open to a new culture and taking components of what you like into your own persona. Assimilation is different in that it refers to a minority group adopting the beliefs and customs of a majority group. Assimilation also has the connotation of a forced change in culture. Although this discussion didn’t deal directly with the film (since Native Americans were actually in America before all other cultures) it was an important discussion to have.
For the most part I thought everyone thought somewhat deeply about this topic and contributed to some great discourse, but there were too many tangents that kept throwing off the flow of discussion. These tangents lasted for awhile at times, and since they weren’t very purposeful, I think it would have been better to stop them sooner.
The second and final segment of the academy this week was about the affordable care act and various issues in the health care system today. I appreciated this discussion because I quickly realized that I need to further educate myself about America’s health care system so that I can come up with my own ideas about what will make it better. Some of the statistics presented were very interesting while others were shocking, and when I get some free time, I plan to look deeper into the many analyses of the health care system. I have learned a bit about Governor Romney’s and President Obama’s plans for the health care system if they are elected, and I’m interested to see what will happen to the future of medicine regardless of who is elected. The health care system is very complex and I appreciated Medhat taking the time to explain the basics to all of us.
Ultimately I gained a lot from this weeks meeting, and I have many new concepts to think about until we meet again for November’s Saturday academy.
I felt that this month’s Saturday academy had helpful moments but not without its flaws. The aspect of the Saturday academy that I found to be the most helpful was the overview of current health care system in the United States. I have always found that this system is very complex to understand and follow. I felt that the presentation at the end of the day was very helpful in clearing up some of the misconceptions I previously had. An example of this would be the allocation of funding within the different divisions that make up the current system. The use of pie charts and other graphics made the information much easier to digest. In addition to being very insightful, I found the presentation to be very interesting. The UPP program was developed for students who are pursuing careers as health-care professionals, which means it is crucial for us to understand the current health-care system for us to make a difference in the future.
I only had one criticism in regards to the health-care presentation, which is that is should have been more of a focus for the Saturday academy. I personally feel, that most of what I learned during the academy came from that specific presentation. The problem was that the presentation was after lunch and at the very end of the day. This meant that the presenter had to rush through some of the material. With the material being so dense, the faster pacing made the information much harder to follow. I would recommend placing this presentation towards the beginning of the day because it is such an important topic. Ample time has to be set aside in order to truly understand the current health-care system. Allocating more time to this presentation can play a crucial part in helping future health-care professionals understand the current system.
The first part of the day was spent watching a movie about health disparities in the Native American population followed by a long discussion about the film. The first 30 minutes of this discussion was very interesting and insightful. I felt that discussing misconceptions about health disparities in Native American populations was a challenging activity that pushed our analyzing abilities. It was very interesting to hear the perspectives of other students from our cohort. Unfortunately, the discussion veered off topic multiple times which detracted from the importance of the discussion. I think that these distractions can be attributed to the allocation of time during this academy. The discussion lasted for about 1.5 hours which, I felt, was too long for the given topic. Not only did this negatively affect this portion of the academy, it also negatively affected the presentation later in the day. I truly believe that more time should have been allocated to the health-care system presentation since it is much more content-rich. At a certain point in the discussion, I felt that we were “beating a dead-horse” and getting off topic way too much. As stated previously, this made the discussion section less effective.
This morning, I found myself back at the Anschutz Medical Campus for our second Saturday Academy. As always, it was wonderful to see and catch up with everyone again. I always love hearing about everyone’s individual academic experiences, and I think it is wonderful to bring together students who are all on varying educational adventures. To start the day off, we watched a truly eye-opening video concerning Native Americans, and their history and corresponding struggles in America. I had many preconceived notions about Native Americans, and realized throughout the course of the video that I was far from accurately informed about the situation that the Native Americans are living in. I learned so much about the Native American culture through the video. I was fascinated to discover how deeply rooted Native Americans are to their culture and history. The video illustrated beautiful Native American art, and spoke to traditional Native American customs. One part of the Native American culture that I did not previously know about was their incredible sense of generosity to those in their tribe. It was stated that the richest person in a Native American tribe is often the poorest individual, because they have given all that they have to everyone else. This is absolutely beautiful to me, and a custom that is definitely not practiced in American culture, where wealth is associated with an accumulation of bought items. A less positive look at the Native American culture showed many health disparities. I learned that health care is often not easily accessible for this population, and that their diet and lifestyle contributes to a number of health problems. Without their natural way of life to survive upon, Native Americans have found themselves relying upon unhealthy food, and straying away from physical activity. They are, consequently, suffering from health problems such as diabetes and obesity.
After the video, our cohort discussed tough issues such as, “How does your identity affect your life?” We discussed forced assimilation, such as the assimilation of Native Americans to Western culture, and the ethics of this practice. Additionally, we discussed the difference between becoming culturally aware and accepting and forcing cultural beliefs upon others. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the thoughts and opinions that everyone brought, concerning Native Americans and their painful history. Everyone brings their own experiences and knowledge to a discussion such as this one, which provides vastly different opinions and points of view.
After lunch today, we were provided the opportunity to learn about the affordable health care act and our current health care system. I was so appreciative of Medhat and the time that he dedicated to explaining the quite complicated, but important issues to our cohort. We learned about how the health care system is operated and funded, which I have never been taught. We learned where and how money is spent in the health care system, and were able to compare America’s spending and utilization of health care to that of other countries. I was shocked to discover how much is spent on health care in America. Additionally, we learned about the proposed policies and issues regarding the affordable health care act. I think that it is vitally important that as future health care providers, and even as individuals living in America, that we become educated about policies and laws which directly affect health care. The affordable health care act is an issue that I have heard about in the news and presidential debates, but have never taken the initiative to research this issue for myself. Too often, I am guilty of believing second-hand information, and not researching issues myself. I felt like this Saturday Academy was incredibly informative. I left with a greater appreciation and knowledge base regarding the Native American population, and a much deeper understanding and interest in the American health care system.
For this month’s session we watched a video pertaining to the plight of Native Americans in the early 20th century at the hands of white Americans. Because of the fantasies of the “wild west” coupled with the notion of Indians and cowboys still very fresh at the time, Native Americans have been married to the assumption of being savage, primitive barbarians that still use primitive methods and foreign beliefs to justify their way of life. Americans feared their alien culture and thus found it their heavenly duty to try and assimilate the people by destroying their language, beliefs, and essentially their souls.
It amazes me how as human beings, more often than not, when we face an adversity that is different or unknown to us, our instinctual reaction is that of fear and hostility. Who can blame them, this very instinct is what helped keep us alive for so long. This is exactly how the American people reacted towards the Indians and their culture. Instead of taking the time to communicate and understand their beliefs and customs, we saw fit to just make them “American” instead.
Unfortunately, this view of the Native American people as “savage” and “lesser” people have made them prime targets to many injustices, including medical apartheid. Techniques and procedures not ever tested before or were known to be very dangerous, were performed on unsuspecting Native Americans (specifically children) anyways, often causing many detrimental and permanent health side effects, which more often than not stripped them of their youth and their identity.
Today Native Americans are still plagued by many health disparities as a direct result of their treatment from earlier in the 20th century. Native American people are still doubtful and skeptical of the American health system, and who can blame them. With over half a century of injustices placed on them, being stripped of their way of live, their culture, and their identity, it is no wonder why there is still some distance between the two.
Based on the discussion that followed the presentation, we still have not done enough to encourage the rekindling of ties between the Native American people and the health care system. The video helped me realize that we still have a lot of work to do to get back to the good graces with the Native American people. The only way to achieve this is through patience, cultural awareness, and understanding. The typical American ideal and approach is usually brash and straight forward. We tend to look too quickly for the results than waiting for circumstances and results to play out for themselves. There is still a lot of things we have to learn about people and their cultures and until we take the time to really get to understand the people that we deal with on a health care basis, then can we only administer the best and the most effective means of treatment to help that individual and ultimately, an entire community.
October 27, 2012
I attended my second Saturday academy with the Undergraduate Pre-Health program on October 27, 2012. This academy was educating and insightful. One of the main topics stressed and studied throughout this academy and this program in its entirety revolves around health disparities that are inherent in our society. I have learned a great deal about this topic throughout this program but I was still unaware of the disparities within the Native American communities. This academy fixated on these disparities while entertaining its subjects with the film Hozho. Hozho is a film that provokes and educates one on the Native American community as a whole and on the health disparities present within those communities. The film begins by explaining the history of Native Americans and how their history has influenced the health disparities within our society. One of the most interesting but sorrowful facts presented dealt with the high obesity rate within Native Americans and how this alternatively has lead to a substantial amount of deaths. The film alludes to the fact that many of these deaths could have been prevented had the individuals been provided with the health care needed, unfortunately demographics and financial constrains have not allowed for the proper health care treatment. It is my obligation as a future health care provider to take the correct measures, educate myself and act upon my desires to reach out and provide care for these communities and others that are in dire need of support.
After being educated with this film I was glade that we had the opportunity to discuss and express our feelings. I always enjoy hearing everyone’s opinion and voicing my own, it is apparent that we all have different backgrounds that make us unique and these backgrounds influence our opinion and emotions towards certain subjects. Most saliently, they make for intellectual and inspiring discussions.
After the discussion I was glade we had the opportunity to spend time and learn about the Affordable Care Act (Obama care). Prior to this discussion I had taken the measures to educate myself on the topic and I understood that it was a very convoluted and intricate issue. I had many questions about the Act and I was glade to have had them answered, I have every intention to pursue a career in health care and therefore it is crucial to have a deep understanding about how the system works and how I can work to improve the system.
This Saturday academy was essential in that it provided a comprehensive exposure to issues related to health care that I was unaware of.
The main discussion topic for this Saturday Academic surrounds the fact that Native Indian Americans was and still to this day are opposed by the “civilized” Americans. This problem started when Christopher Columbus invaded America, thinking that it was India, hence where the Indian in Native Indian Americans came from. The intruders believed that their culture was superior over the Native Americans so they tried to change the culture of the natives. The change included putting the native children in boarding schools, preventing the native americans to perform their culture rituals. The invaders even went as far as to force on their Christian region onto the native Americans. The children who were sent to the boarding schools were not treated well by being research’s test subjects without the parent’s consent. It seems as if the Americans did not view the Indian Americans as human beings but as objects that they can manipulate due to their low social status.
Also, the discussion moved from the past into the future by bring up the issue about how to treat Native American’s illness. Ever since the Americans came to take over the Native American’s culture, there was a shift in the diet that the natives had to consume and was not use to. The shift in the diet cause the native to become obese. In the American’s eyes, one should treat a sickness with medicines but the native has other views. The Native Americans has much a spiritual culture which involves smoking illegal substance that will heal their soul which will bring them closer to the earth who will heal them completely. As a physician who is treating a Native American, they should be open minded about the idea of using narcotics to heal instead of just an abuse substance. There is a line between how much a Native American can consume to go above and beyond the threshold of healing to the realm of abuse. It seems like the difference is clear cut but to be able to understand the distinction, one should learn more about the Native American’s culture. It would be difficult to learn the native’s culture if they are being suppressed and not willing to show you their true identity. Even if there are people who are open minded to learn about the native, I believe they are still hiding their true self because it is been oppressed throughout the years.
How hard would it be to show your true culture if you were told for your whole life that your identity is not honorable. Being able to reach out to people and having the will to talk about one’s problem is not easy as turning on and off a light switch. It is more like assembling the light switch so it can operate the way it does. To be able to do that, you would need the background, knowledge, and need to do so. I do not believe that many people today have the full background to give to use which leads to their lack in knowledge about the native culture. I believe there is a need to understand the culture but many others, would not disagree, but simply does not care to find the need to bring back the culture. All in all, it was a tragedy that this had to occur but we can only learn from it and try not to let this happen again.
It was great to see the cohort again today. We watched a documentary on the struggles to which Native Americans have been subjected throughout the years (instead of listening to a lecture on personal statements – a lecture for which I cannot wait for due to the proximity of dental school applications), and it was a very enjoyable documentary. I must admit that when Mr. Medhat announced that we were going to start our day by watching a documentary, I was a little suspect – would it be a boring day? To my great delight and surprise, however, I could not pry my eyes from the screen! It was an interesting documentary and very enjoyable, too. One of the points that most captured my attention was the testimonial of one of the Native Americans who said that in order to go to medical school, Native Americans must adjust to our conventional society. Other points shocked me. The stereotypes portrayed of Native Americans are clearly very disrespectful and racist; different cultures deserve and must command our respect. As future health care providers, we have the obligation to be aware of health disparities and to do no less than our share to make a difference is remedying this disparity. I remember that during our post-movie discussion many of my fellows asserted that we cannot change the past and that nobody has a magical formula that would fix all the health disparities that are currently affecting Native Americans. I respectfully, but very deeply, disagree with some of those statements. It is true that we cannot change the atrocities and genocide inflicted to Native Americans in the past, but is this the question facing us? How do we treat our fellow human beings – especially, since even today we (non-native descendants) benefit from the cruelties that our ancestors perpetrated upon those who were the native populations of continents, the descendants of which continue to suffer the costs of those cruelties? There must be something more that can be done by the next generations of health care providers (and other service providers, too). To start with, I believe that we (and future) professionals have the responsibility to give back to society by donating some of our time to Indian reservations that are in critical need of health care. As graduate students, this presents not only an incredible learning experience, but also presents the opportunity to do good and provide health care to populations that are in great need. Therefore, we must get “out of our bubble” (so to speak) and realize that if we deeply want to help, we have the opportunity to do so. The documentary also enlightened me regarding several other challenges, in addition to the general lack of adequate health care, that face Native Americans. Reflecting upon the points brought by the movie, I realized that alcoholism (for example) is a critical and deep issue, and has both “health service” aspects and “non-health service” aspects. A lack of jobs, cultural impacts, psychological depression, and disease, among other things, all need to be addressed in relation to this great and pressing challenge.
This months Saturday academy was informative but short. We started the morning with watching a video about Native Americans/American Indians which I have actually seen before. I actually never knew that some of the reservations they live on are their own Nations within the United States and they don’t follow the U.S. laws. Who knew! Honestly, I definitely didn’t. But this video gave us insight on the health disparities Native Americans face and that some of the troubles the Native Americans face are having the access to health care. They have to travel long distances in order to see a doctor. Prior to ever watching this video, I have always stereotyped Native Americans and thought they were alcoholics and drug addicts who live in the middle of no where. Something important that comes out of all these Diversity and Health videos is we cannot judge or stereotype people. We also cannot treat them differently because of their background. It is very important to take the time to understand and know a persons background without making any sort of assumptions. This is necessary in the health professions to gain trust from patients. The discussion following the video was interesting but wasn’t very organized. I felt like people went on tangents and at some points it all started getting confusing and somewhat off topic. In the afternoon portion, we learned about the health care system. This was very interesting to me, but a bit confusing with all the numbers and where they come from. Plus we went through it kind of quickly, so I hope we run into this topic again. I’d like to know more and have a true understanding of the cost and who are the people who get to decide this and that, why, and put it in perspective and scenarios. It’s crazy to see how much we spend on health care though. It’s interesting to see myself really growing, learning and wanting to know more about our health care systems and healthcare troubles people run into. I always knew about the bigger picture of things, but it’s awesome to see myself put together the little pieces and details that make up the bigger picture and actually understanding it all.
This Saturday academy produced interesting discussion and debate surrounding the meaning of assimilation, acculturation, and health disparity. The discussion began following a film detailing the different people who are a part of the Native-American community and the health disparities surrounding many Native-American nations. Many people on reservations have a difficult time accessing the best health care because they might live very far from the nearest, most innovative hospital or research center. This is obviously a serious problem because many people in these communities are struggling to persevere beyond significant health issues. Obesity, high blood pressure, and depression are some of a number of illnesses and health problems that need to be improved throughout many reservations. However, is this actually the Native-American communities fault? After debate, a clear answer was not determined, except that it is difficult to place blame. During western expansion, Native Americans were forced out of their homelands into small reservations where they were forced to abandon culture, language, and foods. Everything that made the Native American culture unique and beautiful was stripped away in the name of assimilation. They were given processed foods and were exposed to illnesses and diseases. Given small plots of land called reservations, they were told “welcome home” without any real sense of home. Now, we see the result of western expansion, and it is not hearth warming. It is not beneficial to the Native-American people, nor is it beneficial to the American health care system. This was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. During discussion, the question of assimilation versus acculturation came up and although many people made the point that assimilation is not always bad, I was left feeling that assimilation is never good if it forces unwilling participants to give up that which they hold dear. Finally, we discussed the Affordable Care Act and the possible benefits and disadvantages to the system. The system is rather in-depth and it seems we needed a lot more time to discuss it.
Our second Saturday Academy was very interesting. In the morning, we found out that we would not be doing the personal statement workshop, which was really quite a shame because I was looking forward to it. Since I will be applying to the school’s physician assistant graduate program in the spring, I need to start working on my personal statement. I have a couple of ideas already, but I need some advice on them. I hope that the personal statement workshop will happen sometime in the near future.
As a result of all of this, we watched a video about Native Americans and the medical field. It was definitely a learning experience watching this documentary. I did not know about many of the cultural norms of Native Americans, such as a reluctance to make eye contact. This is particularly interesting to me because I have been raised thinking that eye contact is absolutely crucial in communicating with someone. They are the little things like these that make me interested in becoming culturally competent, so that I am never offending someone. It will also be really useful in my career as a physician assistant. Another part of the video that interested me was about the reservations. I did not know that these reservations were sovereign nations in which the law of the United States does not apply.
I do not think that this is the correct solution in bringing justice to Native Americans. It only complicates things. I imagine myself living on a reservation, and it is difficult to acknowledge that I am living in what are essentially two very different countries. Each one having different laws and traditions; one being wealthier than the other; one country that was stolen away from my ancestors, and another country that I was placed in. It is very interesting placing myself in the shoes of someone from another culture, but I have never been quite as moved by any other culture as much as that of the Native Americans. I believe the documentary had a lot to do with it. I am looking forward to doing more activities like this one. Although I would like the discussion to not bounce around as much as it did that day. We kept coming back to an issue of semantics, and the end of the discussion was boring me.
The latter half of the day was spent looking at the Healthcare Reform Act. I cannot say whether or not I liked this because it went by so quickly. I would have liked to slow down and discuss things a bit more, but I know that everyone had places to go and things to do. I just wanted to gain a better understanding of the changes that will be made (assuming they will happen). It is absolutely imperative that as a health care professional I am aware of the changes being proposed to health care insurance and the entire “system” itself. I fear that during an interview to a graduate program I will be asked about President Obama’s act to reform health care, and I will not know what to say. I need to start paying closer attention to these things, especially because we are in an election year and because my career may change significantly by the time I complete my education.
I was not surprised that the United States has a terrible health care system though. I remember watching a documentary called “Sicko” by Michael Moore, and learning all about it. It would be nice to watch it sometime and have a discussion on it, especially now that we have at least learned some of the vocabulary associated when discussing legislative changes in health care.
I am looking forward to the next academy. I want to see everyone’s thoughts on Medical Apartheid. I have a feeling that the presentations will all be very interesting.
The second Saturday Academy on 27 October 2012, reinforced values that I had long since valued. We began by viewing the movie "Hozho" which analyzed the impacts of Native American history on the current state of Native American healthcare. Being a fan of Mesoamerican and Native American aficionado, I enjoyed hearing the history of peoples of North America even though it was quite disheartening. Many of the issues that many Native Americans face today originated from problems that have been left unresolved for centuries. It was an amazing opportunity to watch this video because there was some great advice that was given by Native American health care providers and citizens alike. I really admire and respect cultural differences, so I was glad to hear that most physicians build relationships with Native Americans by just displaying their interest in their patient's culture and they were positively responsive. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to inflict a noticeable difference in this underserved community.
After an enthralling conversation concerning Native Americans rights and biases, Medhat then began to give his presentation on the United States Health care system. It was enlightening to hear about all of the deficiencies and proficiencies present in the current United States healthcare system. We also discussed programs and policies, where most of the money spent is going, the federal government's role, and the ACA or Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I honestly didn't know all of the different avenues in which the money from our healthcare system does down. One portion I remember really stuck out to me and I had no previous exposure to this fact. I had no clue that residency programs were federally funded (through investments), and that residency programs, then, actually help fund the Medicare program. As usual, we had a discussion/debate over various topics like what role should the government play and how much should it regulate the healthcare system, if we agreed with how the current healthcare system deals with those who have pre-existing conditions, and what kind of changes we might expect to see within the healthcare system in the near future. This was beneficial because it reminded me of how complicated and complex our healthcare system is and how much time it would take to "correct" all of its flaws. There have been so many deep rooted issues with the healthcare system that have gone unresolved and have resulted in many other flaws that are present within the system.
I believe I will be able to take this information on my journey to medical school and eventually becoming a physician because it is all so relevant to the pertinent issues that are plaguing our society today. Culturally sensibility and competency are absolutely vital to the survival of good medicine in today's world. The healthcare system will take a long amount of time to fix, but it will be worth it. We should live in a country where we are proud of the institutions and policies that we have set in place.
This Saturday Academy had 2 main points of discussion: a Kaiser diversity film on the current health epidemic American Indians are experiencing and a brief overview of Obamacare. I enjoyed watching the American Indian movie because it pointed out a lot of issues I did not know even existed among the population. What I did not like out the film was that it was supposed to be about the health of them, but too much of it was focused on the history of mistreatment from the Europeans to the Indians. Although I do feel it is unfortunate to what happened to their ancestors, I think that the current government has to stop taking responsibility and the current tribes have to stop victimizing themselves. Currently, no one is at fault for what happened hundreds of years ago and it is time to move on. The discussion we had as a class at some points would be very interesting pointing out the importance of forcing other people into your culture, but at times it dragged on for too long and went on unnecessary tangents. I wish the conversation would have focused more on the health, rather than on the history of Indians.
Although the health care reform was a bit dry, I loved finally learning about Obamacare without having to look up and read the proposal. I had previously taken a class on medical ethics and have been exposed to the problem in America with health care insurance. This time it was better though because I was able to hear different point of views from different fellows and also share my own opinion, rather than just take in information in a lecture hall. I feel that before this Saturday Academy I was torn between the two candidates for presidential elections, thinking that Obamacare was going to lower the standards of healthcare. I learned that in reality it would actually raise the standards and the accessibility of healthcare. I was convinced discreetly that Obama is the way to go!
This Saturday Academy was an excellent learning oppurtunity for me! Although I try my best to stay be informed about all the diverse cultures, Native Americans are one that I have yet to come across in my studies. The document that we watched did a geat job in presenting the health disparities among the Native American culture. The discussion was certainly the most benefical though because it allowed us to critically analyze the various issues, such as assimilation by Americans. It was appaling to hear that Native American boys were taken from their families and sent off to boarding schools to assimilate to the dominant culture. In addition Native Americans are more predisposed to several health disorders such as obesity and diabetes. It was interesting that there was no solution to this day to help relieve it. The document was more credited in my eyes because it included several different Native Americans discussing the issues within their own culture. Those that are still on reservations face more immense problems because leaving for any reason whatsoever, including to obtain health care, results in "losing your spirit". Another aspect that I was completely unaware of was the seperate governing system for people that live on reservations. American law simply does not apply to them, which is such a hard thing to fathom since they are a part of the United States. The second part of the day consisted of a presentation of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, which is sort of a socialized medicine plan that requires all to be insured. It was really crazy to hear that the United States has the lowest quality care for the price they pay. I have always seen the U.S as being the top of the chain, yet other European countries receive higher quality care. Hopefully the Affordable Care Act will be the pushing force that we desperately need. In all this Saturday Academy was very informative and eye-opening for me.
I have very little diversity in my family. I am an excellent example of the term “of European Descent”. My ancestors are a mix of Italian, German, Scottish, Irish, Swedish, and other countries with very little skin tone. For this reason, I always do my best to learn as much as I can about other cultures. I don’t know much about Native American culture, but I think that they are a fascinating people with an interesting history. I think it is appalling what this country has inflicted on the Native Americans, and I am astounded that conditions continue to be so awful for them. I thought that was excellent that Medhat chose an ethnic group that none of us had ever been exposed to. As future doctors, we will have care for people of Native American origin. Since Denver does not have many Native Americans, we will have to learn about their culture from other sources.
The conversation that was conducted after the video was interesting. We had an in depth, controversial dialogue about the ideas of assimilation and acculturation. I was upset to hear some of the cohort suggesting that assimilation is not a bad thing. In my opinion, people should never have to assimilate. Every ethnic group should be able to retain as much of their culture as possible, in addition to acquiring certain characteristics of other cultures. Complete assimilation, on the other hand, is never good thing. Someone should never be forced to give up their beliefs for fear of persecution and I believe that a very important distinction needs to be made between assimilation and adaptation.
After this conversation, Medhat gave a presentation about the healthcare in this country. I am particularly passionate about this subject. Because of private insurance companies and physician’s mistakes, my mother’s health insurance was denied due to a pre-existing condition, a condition that continues to threaten her life today. My family has difficulty covering all of her medical costs, and she has attempted to live with her condition without all the treatment that she actually needs. After taking care of my mom for years and not knowing how long I will have with her, I am absolutely appalled that anyone would be opposed to universal healthcare. How could we ever justify someone not getting the health care that they need to survive? Is it really worth it to save our national debt? What gives us the right to value finances over human life? If everyone had equal access to healthcare, my mother would have had access to the preventative care that she needed. Her condition would have been treated early, and I never would have had to hear the words, “Your mother may only have two more weeks to live.” With universal healthcare, my mother would not be in the hospital at this very moment. If everyone had to experience this, there would be no question that “Obamacare” is what we need. With the election approaching, Americans need to decide what is more important to them: balancing the budget, or helping sick people to spend more time with their love ones. Even if I had not been through the things that I have been through with my family; for me, the decision is not a hard one.
Saturday Academy October 27, 2012. Today the academy was very participative in opinions towards the Native Americans and how their culture is close to vanishing. It is hard to believe that they went from very fit people to now being among the unhealthiest in the country. Many of these if not all, is thanks to the “whites” who imposed their ways. The Natives were pushed to bad land with scarce resources and forced to change their diets. These actions made them get sick from being exposed to foreign microbes that killed most of their population and now in preset time is really affecting their health. Their diet which was composed mainly on protein is now high in fats and that has contributed for their bad health today. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Native Americans and the risk factors for it, such as high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high blood cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. I try to relate myself to them since I come from an immigrant family, but I cannot. My parents were both immigrants at one point but they always had somewhere to go back to. When their immigration status changed they were able to go back to their land to their culture and come back to their new home. When my siblings and I were born we were taught their Mexican culture and learned from the American one as well. They came to America by choice they were exposed to different ways and adopted new ideas. I cannot compare their case to how the Natives were treated. My parents migrated here and it was obvious they were going to be willing to learn new ways. It was different for the Natives since this was their land and having a group of people taking it from them is not right. If what is left of their culture vanishes where are they going to go back to? They are not like me or my parents that can go back to their land and still have their culture. If they lose the little they have left, they would not have anything to ever go back to. We talked about the Affordable Care act and learned many things I didn’t know before. I really wish it works out like it is intended to do and hope Americans give it a chance.