Research brought the world scientific and technological advances that have changed the lives of men and women forever. During the period characterized by the philosophy of modernism, from roughly 1750 to 1950, conventional wisdom expected that science would solve all the problems of mankind, both material and moral/ethical. Scientific and social research, which would lead to technological supremacy over the physical world and enlightened policies in every society, would usher in a utopia. World War II, the Holocaust, and the atomic bomb shattered these hopes, demonstrating that science and technology, and the research behind it, can destroy as easily as they can save. Though we prate about following “science,” in the past 70 years, research has lost respect.
In the March 2021 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, seven physicians, whose first names suggest that they are all female, wrote “Investigating Gender Disparities in Internal Medicine Residency Awards.” The authors began by recounting gender disparities in salary, academic rank, grant funding, and awards. They performed a multi-institutional study based on survey data from academic internal medicine residency programs starting in 2009 and extending through 2019. These physicians’ initial findings are in Table 1:
Social distancing is an important public health measure to slow or stop the spread of many diseases. God’s instructions to the Hebrews in the Bible were primarily for holiness, but also had important health benefits.
I was at the auto parts store last week buying brake pads to replace the old ones in my daughter’s Prius. An elderly woman walked in, donning a mask and gloves, and carefully staying at least six feet away from others. When a clerk approached her and when other customers walked by, she retreated. I walked the long way down a separate aisle to get around her, trying to provide the space that she needed. Given her increased level of risk, and the fact that she didn’t seem grumpy, I appreciated her caution.
Social distancing, putting space between people who may infect each other with a disease, is the major way that individuals and governments throughout the world are trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has worked many times in history, such as in the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, a far deadlier disaster than the current plague. The nation, and indeed much of the world, has been staying at home, or at least away from others, for over six weeks. Public health experts have used many other interventions for infection control as well. This article will discuss social distancing and other public health actions against infectious disease.
How leaders can minimize harm in health care, in other industries, and in all areas of life.
“How can we change this process to prevent this error from happening again?” the senior ward nurse asked the group. It is a common question, one that I have heard thousands of times from experienced and dedicated health care professionals of all stripes.
I have worked in health care for many years, serving in positions from volunteer to emergency medical technician to senior attending physician to chief of staff at a hospital to chief medical officer of a large network. In every position, “do no harm” is a fundamental theme. This famous statement from the writings of Hippocrates encapsulates quality improvement, patient safety, access to care, and many other goals in modern medicine.
“Do no harm” can be thought of as eliminating risks that could lead to a bad outcome, such as injury or death. Occupational and Environmental Medicine physicians learn that there are four ways to decrease risk in the workplace and in the environment: