Let’s use our differences to connect, not divide

We may not always recognize our or others’ biases but that makes them no less real. Whether unconscious- implicit or conscious-explicit, biases harm all of us by blocking communication and preventing relationships that could benefit to everyone.

I have connected on Facebook with Dr.T.M., an emergency room physician, due to our shared love of ballroom dancing. Usually her posts are lighthearted, full of news about her family, travel, and dancing. But recently she wrote a public post that tugged at my heart.

I am a proud Asian American. I am feeling hurt and saddened right now. I have dedicated my life to serving ALL people and it’s never been for money or fame. It’s been about the opportunity to give back to the America that took me in as a refugee. To pay it forward.

The recent hate crimes are the antithesis to my very existence, the opposite of every goal in my book. I do not see any good from hate and only unintended consequences. If I can only have one wish come true it would be that we find a way to use our differences to connect with one another. That we can speak and act from a place of love, not hate.

Forever and For always, love not hate.

Mural in the Chinatown neighborhood of Chicago, IL

She of course is referring to recent acts of violence directed at Asian Americans, which isn’t new but aggravated by attitudes that blame the pandemic on them . Bigotry and bias directed toward any ethnicity isn’t new, but has become more blatant due to multiple recent events that highlight the inequities we allow to persist.

  • The pandemic has disproportionately effected persons of color.
  • Vaccination efforts have lagged in neighborhoods of color.
  • People of color “profiled” by law enforcement and other public authorities.
  • Laws and public policy which may restrict access to voting
  • Women underrepresented in the STEM fields and upper management of business.
  • The use of symbols and slogans that stigmatize and demean certain groups of people
  • Using offensive, demeaning names to characterize certain groups, and excusing it as “freedom of speech”

People who referred to the SAR-CoV-2 virus as “Chinese” perpetuated discriminatory stereotypes. But viruses don’t discriminate, neither do they recognize or respect international boundaries. They don’t carry passports or needs visas to roam the world. .

a brick building decorated with Chinese art
art décor on a building in Chinatown Chicago

Bias is a prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another usually in a way that’s considered to be unfair.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
children standing outside a school in Bangladesh
a school in Bangladesh, where my husband volunteered to teach computing

But color or ethnicity aren’t the only factors that play into prejudice-one’s gender, age, religion, occupation, physical appearance and ability, education, income- are often used to judge a person’s worth.

Unconscious (implicit) biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Healthcare is not exempt from implicit bias, and it works both ways. Doctors and other healthcare workers may behave differently toward patients based on gender, skin color, and ethnicity in ways that can negatively impact their care.

And patients may make assumptions about their providers, assuming status based on the same characteristics; for example, assuming that females are nurses, rather than physicians; or assuming a black male is an orderly rather than a surgeon.

Vietnamese children with an American woman, blowing bubbles
a VWAM volunteer team entertaining children in Vietnam

We may not always recognize our or others’ biases but that makes them no less real. Whether unconscious- implicit or conscious-explicit, biases harm all of us by blocking communication and preventing relationships that could benefit to everyone.

And ironically enough, we can even unconsciously violate our own conscious values!
two women in Thai dress
Two of the staff at a resort in Thailand where we stayed
How can we alter our perceptions and biases?
  • Focus within
  • Learn about others
  • Engage in dialogue
  • EXpand the options
More about this FLEX plan at this link.
a group of American and Thai healthcare workers
working with Thai healthcare professionals on a volunteer trip to Thailand (I am second from left, middle row.)

exploring the HEART of “love, not hate”

I hope you enjoyed the photos from some of my travels. And I hope this post caused you to recognize and examine your own biases-implicit and otherwise; I know I have. Perhaps you recognized ways you unintentionally perpetuate or tolerate undeserved and destructive bias

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

an ornate shrine in Thailand
Me visiting Thailand

Dr. Aletha

BLOGGERS PIT STOP FEATURED

This post was featured April 2, 2021.

National Doctors’ Day 2021- committed to ending the COVID-19 pandemic

Doctors’ Day 2020 was somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. This year we are approaching the end of the biggest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic

National Doctors’ Day

Did you know there is a national day to honor physicians? In 1990, the U.S. Congress established a National Doctors’ Day, first celebrated on March 30, 1991.

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond,  and the date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery.

March 30 is Doctors' Day

Doctors’ Day 2020

Doctors’ Day 2020 was somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. Many of our offices were closed, or offering only virtual medicine.

Hospitals cancelled elective procedures. Emergency rooms enacted strict measures in order to treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients while protecting other patients.

After several weeks of fairly strict “lockdowns”, restrictions in multiple states were loosened leading to first gradual then rapid surges in cases, many severe enough to require hospital and ICU admission. And with increased infections, came increased deaths.

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

2021

The new year brought a post holiday reprieve, as both cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are steadily decreasing in most parts of the United States. This year we are finally optimistic than the worst is over, that we will see the end of the toughest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic.

a female physician talking to a male patient
photo from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, media site

Physicians confront a pandemic

I can’t possibly recognize all the physicians who have labored and sacrificed to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections. This is just a small sampling of ones who made the news; most of them didn’t but their role was no less vital

Paul Lynch, m.d., anesthesia/pain management

Dr. Lynch, a pain management specialist, travelled to New York City early in the pandemic to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients. He caught COVID-19, but after a severe illness, recovered, and returned home to Arizona.

Here is one of several videos he posed to his YouTube channel.

In March of 2019, the Covid-19 Pandemic hit NYC and its’ hospital system like a typhoon. I trained at Bellevue from 2003-2006 in the Anesthesiology department where among other things we managed the ICU. I made the decision to return and help during this crisis.





rebecca shadowen, m.d., Infectious Disease

In her community, Dr. Shadowen was an advocate for public health measures which were not always well received. She died after contracting a severe COVID-19 infection, having continued her advocacy even from her hospital bed.

Rosalind mitchell, m.d., Emergency medicine

Dr. Mitchell’s sister, Dr. Debby Mitchell Burton, a blogger, honored her sister with this Facebook post. Roz, as her family and friends called her, died of COVID-19 complications in January 2021.

doctor talking to a woman
photo compliments American Academy of Family Physicians

Melissa welby, m.d., psychiatrist

With her psychiatric experience, Dr. Welby offered practical advice about managing the stress of the pandemic, especially in the early days when it was all so new and unknown. Such as this post-

How to stay positive during quarantine

Despite the limitations that come with stay-at-home orders, the range of possibilities for entertaining and enjoyable distractions are vast. Although life balance is always important, it is now essential in order to maintain our mental health during and after the pandemic. Let’s have some fun while trying to stay positive during quarantine.

Dr. Melissa Welby
Female doctor looking at an xray

the kudji doctors

This mother-daughter duo made history by graduating from medical school and starting residencies at the same time.

a woman in white coat with mask over mouth

laurent duvernay-tardif, m.d.

Football player and physician don’t usually go together in the same sentence, but for Dr. Duvernay-Tardif they do.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif refused to choose between earning his MD and playing in the NFL. Today, he’s the first active player who’s also a doctor. At this link you can

Meet the NFL Player Who May Soon Be Your Doctor

“At first I wanted to be an engineer, but after talking with some engineers, I realized there is a lot of computer work, and while I’m a man of science, at the same time I need that human interaction with people,

Medicine is one of the only professions where you get to master the science of things — anatomy, pharmacology, kinesiology — but you also have to interact and communicate with patients from many different cultural and economic backgrounds, and you really have to take into account the social context of each patient in order to come up with the best treatment options.”

Dr. Duvernay-Tardif

your physicians

The most important doctors for you to honor are the ones who helps you, your family, and your community with their health care needs. One way you can honor them is to join them in “sharing the HEART of health” where you live. Some ways you can do this (and you probably already are) include

  • donating to or volunteering at a local food bank
  • assisting with meal delivery to homebound persons
  • fostering and adopting children
  • tutoring students
  • donating to scholarship funds
  • teaching and coaching sports and other physical activities
  • supporting shelters for homeless people
  • helping people effected by natural disasters

Use the comments to tell us what you do and share the impact it has made in the lives of the people who are helped.

Some photos in this post are from the LIGHTSTOCK.COM collection, an affiliate link. Consider Lightstock for your photo and graphic needs. You will get quality media and help support the mission of this blog-to inform and inspire us all to discover the HEART of health.

exploring the HEARTS of physicians

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .