The final exams had just ended and it is time to finally enter my posts in the e-portfolio system. Perhaps it is due to a lack of time management, but I wasn’t able to find time previously for entering my entries here due to various commitments, however, now is the end of the term and the time for reflections for what has been going on in my life in the first semester of the second year.
Honestly speaking, what I have heard is that the second year is the best out of the seven years of medical school education in terms of time offs and opportunities to develop our interests. Therefore I decided to take part in SCORP (Standing Committee on Rights and Peace), a department that is part of the 醫學系系學會國際事務部in charge of promoting rights and peace. Many people do not know that we existed and yet we have undertaken many activities, like the annual camp on the Emergency Medicine as well as the Human Rights Workshop.
I participated in the Human Rights Workshop held in Taichung at the China Medical University and it was a really meaningful experience for me. The main aim for such a workshop was to promote the social determinants of health, a topic that was also brought to our attention during our class for Medical and Society. We had three fantastic speakers who gave us insight on the importance of recognizing the social determinant of health. For example, I learnt through the speeches that the main reason why patients fall ill is due to the social conditions that he or she is staying in. As doctors, our main goal is to help ensure that we bring our patients back to good health, but what we always forget to ask is, after we treat our patients, are we sending them back to the conditions that make them fall sick again? This only forms a vicious cycle that is never-ending and yes, funny as this may sound, this keeps us in our jobs. We should therefore focus on finding out the social determinants of health and provide solutions to them because only by doing this can we truly help our patients. As doctors, we are even more well-equipped with such abilities since we provide the diagnosis and would first-hand be able to know what cause such illness like cholera and what are the possible sources of infection.
Even in Taiwan, with such well-supplied clean sanitary water in many places, there are still much other social determinants of health such as poor working conditions, pollutions in many forms etc. As proponents of human rights and peace, it is therefore our job to bring such awareness to fellow medical students so that in future, when doing diagnosis, if we know what really causes such diseases, we can ask ourselves what we can do to eradicate such conditions that the patients would not suffer a relapse. This certainly adds to the social responsibilities that we doctors should undertake and make us better proponents of healthcare in the future, at the risk of losing our jobs of course. This is the most important lesson that I had taken away from the workshop and would like to share with the rest of you friends out there.