I started this blog as a way to share the knowledge I gained working in public policy and advocacy and later in graduate school for public health with medical students. There was and remains a massive disconnect between what medical students understand about the health care landscape and what we need to know to best help our patients. I certainly don’t think every student needs a Master of Public Health to be a competent, caring physician, but as I’ve written before, it would be helpful if they had a basic understanding of health insurance and how public policy influences the practice of medicine and the lives of our patients. Not all medical students and physicians will want to engage in any type of advocacy even with this education – and that is OK – but it would at least ensure more holistic interactions with patients. That is why I started MollyMPHtoMD and continue to be active on Instagram, sharing health policy tidbits throughout the day and how it intersects with medicine. And over the last few years, I’ve posted here about everything from health care sharing ministries and ACA open enrollment to the basics of Medicare and Medicaid. But even though I have a long list of health policy related topics that I still want to write about, I just don’t feel like it.Continue reading “A New Direction”
Sometimes we don’t value what we can’t see. It’s why I have to remind patients to keep taking their blood pressure medication even through they “don’t feel a difference.” Trust me, you will if you don’t keep it under control. Public health is much like continuing to take your medication; the work it does is often unseen because it prevents bad outcomes and therefore, doesn’t get the value or appreciation it deserves.
While many Americans likely believe that we are the healthiest nation in the world, we actually have the lowest life expectancy at birth among comparable countries – 78.6 years vs. 82.3 years. And compared to other high-income countries, we trail in nearly all health metrics. Nearly 50% of Americans have a preventable, chronic medical condition yet we only 3% of our health care spending is on prevention and public health programs.
What is the mission of our public health system? The Institute of Medicine articulated it as the, “fulfillment of society’s interests in assuring the conditions in which people can be healthy.” This is a broad, sweeping statement but one that we should have be a strong interest in achieving – and that can only happen when we have both an understanding of what public health is (and isn’t) and adequately fund that work. Because we know that access to health care services isn’t enough.
What is public health?Continue reading “Why you should care about public health”
I had such a fun time talking about my journey to medicine with Jenn on the “How Did You End Up There?” podcast the other week! It’s definitely not typical to start out in politics and end up a (almost) physician, but I can’t imagine any other path. I learned many valuable lessons along the way and had the opportunity to delve into interests that I might not have as a pre-med at 18 or as a medical student in my early 20s. We sacrifice a lot to find the time to learn all we can to save and improve lives. You can listen to the episode here – be sure to check out all of the other episodes too! It’s so interesting to get glimpses into other winding career paths.
I was also interviewed by my medical school magazine about my interest in public health and advocacy as a medical student and future physician. As I mention in the article, it is so important for medical students (and all health professionals) to see beyond the four walls of the clinic. Our patients exist in vibrant communities and we have a responsibility to understand how their social interactions and environments impact their health. It’s the main reason I started this blog – to educate and empower the next generation of physicians to do the most good for their patients.
You can read more about my career change here!
I need to thank the Clare at Fitting It All In for blogging about her experiences in a post bacc premed program. When I learned that this type of program existed for people like me — career-changers who wanted to go to medical school (or other biomedical or health sciences careers) with no science background — I got onto Google and typed in “post bacc premed blog.” Her site was one of the first to come up! Now I’m in medical school after five years in the professional and graduate school worlds, a year in a post bacc, and a glorious year spent as a nanny for the cutest two year old. So, I think it’s time to pay it forward.Continue reading “Post Bacc Basics + How it Prepared Me for Medical School”