I'm fine, I worry about others

As a medical student scheduled to graduate in 2020, I know I'm fine. I have the luxury of job security waiting for me. The same isn't true for my old high school and college peers that are looking for jobs now. I worry for them. I worry for people like my parents who are retiring and rely on welfare programs for their healthcare. I worry that when I'm finally able to practice as a physician, the only people that can afford my care will be the wealthy elite because my dream is to serve those most in need, the poor, the disadvantaged, the marginalized.


Dark times

I spent November 9 vacillating between deep sadness, despair, shock. It's not that I'm not a Republican and a Republican won. On a personal and real level, the kind of hateful speech, flagrant disregard for facts and for fellow humans that Trump's campaign spouted is offensive to me, to people I love, and is antithetical to the reasons why I went into medicine.

I spent that morning in the hospital, with a patient who is dying of widely metastatic cancer. When I went to talk about this with the patient, the patient said to me "I'm just hoping that there is a surgery that the doctors can find that will cure me so I can return to my home country. I'd like to get on with my life."

I looked at the patient and said "unfortunately, my understanding is that there is no surgery that will reverse the disease or cure you. But, know that even though we can't cure your disease, you are still our patient, we will still take care of you."

He started to weep at that point, and I held his hand. Through his tears, he thanked me.

Now doesn't feel like the time to use euphemisms, to sugar coat things. The results of this election may well endanger the lives of a great many people here in this country and abroad. It may be responsible for national policies--and a Supreme Court--that makes life much more difficult for women, impoverished people, people of color, the LGBTQI community. I pray that my medical training will help me be ready to stand with others, respond to tragedy with courage, and that my voice & access to privilege is used to help those who need it.

Ashley White-Stern

Thoughts on the job

I'm happy there's a sense of normalcy in working. I'm happy to have had whatever limited view I have into lives that are much different than my own. I'm happy that my job is to do whatever I can to help people. It makes it easy to go to work.



One of the most rewarding things about being a primary care doctor during residency has been to meet patients, who haven't seen a doctor for years, finally seeking care after being provided with insurance through Obamacare. I'm scared for what will happen to my patients if/when Obamacare is repealed. I fear vulnerable populations will become even more vulnerable; with the heath of these populations in question the opportunity to close the divide between the haves and the have-nots will widen. I hope we can come together as physicians to help our patients. It will take community outreach and creative solutions outside of our hospital walls. I'm up for the challenge and hope you are too.