Tag: social determinants of health

Seeing the Light

Sarah Houssayni

Many healers, teachers and parents have them.  

At one point, I did, too. I had delusions. I thought I was a hero, a rescuer clad in a shiny white coat and wielding the sword of clinical wisdom. 

 

I look back on those days with nostalgia and regret. I wish they’d lasted a little longer–my belief

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No Place Like Home(less)

Josephine Ensign

Recently I had dinner with a friend of mine who, decades ago, had sat on my doctoral dissertation committee. At one point we touched on my dissertation, which covered the health issues of Baltimore’s homeless teens.

“You always had an uncanny connection with homeless kids,” my friend said. “You really understood them.”

I gazed out the window, seeing the homeless people with their shopping carts in the park across the street.

Then I

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Joe the Handyman

Angela Yang

“Forty-two-year old male, chronic pain syndrome,” the chart reads. 

I’m a third-year medical student doing an elective at a physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, and this is my first time seeing Joe. 

Sitting expectantly in the exam-room chair, he’s a gaunt man with a long face and dark tattoos down his arms. Wire-rimmed glasses, stringy ponytail, faded jeans and leather jacket complete the look. 

“Nice

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An Orphan’s Tale

Peter Ferrarone

At the outset, I confess that I have no experience in the medical field. I’m not a doctor or a nurse; I’m a recent college graduate, a writer and someone who’s interested in the world. And, all last summer, I was a volunteer in Uganda. 

I’d met a Ugandan priest who was visiting the States on a

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Kennet Square Clinic

Jessica Bloom

The young woman’s daughter
is shy and beautiful.

Her mother comes to the clinic 
with vague complaints:
headache, stomach pain,
fatigue, weakness.
A small, sturdy woman
with an anxious face,
her square jaw is just a bit
bigger on the left. I picture 
the long-healed fracture
in her jutting mandible,
sealed beneath unbroken skin
the color of

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A Greater Truth

Nancy Elder

Should someone have to lie to get care? For millions of uninsured Americans, finding a way to receive health care is a challenge. In my practice, I’ve been seeing more and more of the following:

“Where have you been living lately?” I ask my third patient of the morning, a heavy-set, forty-nine-year-old man with dark, weathered skin

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Finding a Way Home

Erin Imler

Preparing to assemble my new bed, I open the wordless instruction manual. The first page shows a picture of a single stick-figure standing there, hands on hips, and sadly regarding a bungled, not-put-together bed; the next image is two happy-looking stick-figures standing with their arms around each others’ shoulders, looking at a successfully constructed bed.
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Just This Once

Majid Khan

It’s a rainy Thursday evening in our small inner-city practice. Today is the receptionist’s birthday, and I’ve been cordially invited to attend a small party prepared by her coworkers.

As I descend the green carpeted steps to the lounge, my aching muscles remind me about the torture session (otherwise known as “boxercise”) that I attended last night

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Girl Talk

Warren Holleman

“I got pregnant. Quit sports, quit school. Quit all my dreams.”

Brenda looks fit and handsome, despite the scar running down the middle of her face. At six feet tall, she commands respect, even though her sweet, high-pitched voice belies her imposing physique.

We are sitting in a circle: Brenda, six other women and me. Most are in their thirties and forties, and in their fourth or fifth month of sobriety. They look

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Angels and Phantoms

Joanna Dognin

“Mama,” a little voice pipes from the back seat. “Why is that boy in a chair?” 

The sun is beaming into the car as we sit at a stoplight, waiting to exit a store parking lot. My two-year-old daughter has spotted a young man, barely twenty, who smiles weakly as he rolls by in an electric wheelchair, collecting money for muscular dystrophy.

“He’s in a chair because he needs help moving around,” I

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