Many of my friends nodded politely a few weeks back when I told them that I had been elected to the Institute of Medicine. They knew from the tone of my voice that this election was a huge honor for me. But, despite my enthusiasm, the announcement was generally met by a few moments of awkward silence. Some of my friends admitted that they had no idea what the IOM actually does.
Recently, Dr. Peter Kramer published an intriguing, well-written, but poorly reasoned and potentially dangerous "thought piece" in the New York Times. His article, "Why Doctors Need Stories," contains several logical flaws and erroneous arguments, but the overarching concept is a classic "straw man" argument.
You don't have to look far in medical and scientific research today to feel the shifting sands and see signs of change. At times it seems we are simultaneously tilling the soil with a set of old yet tried and true tools while making new ones. Each year, as my organization prepares to bring together leaders in medical research, we confront all of this change head on.
Human rights would be empowered by a proportional and rational response, but knee-jerk fear has a history of racism in this country when it comes to public health. Unfortunately, current media reactions, prevalent in mainstream and social media, are fanning flames of xenophobia in America and withholding care from those that need it most.
At just 20-years-old, Brynn has several serious chronic health conditions, one of which requires her to be one of the only people in the world to have a 24/7 Benadryl intravenous drip. But even though I've never met Brynn in real life, from miles and miles away I can feel the warmth, brilliance and hope that she is giving the world.
I'm in the very early stages of preparing a campaign to try to run in the 2016 election for US President. I'll be doing it as a transhumanist for the Transhumanist Party, a political organization I recently founded that seeks to use science and technology to radically improve the human being and the society we live in.
My patient and I were walking down the tiled floors of the hospital ward, past the other patients' rooms, every door flung open like in a college dormitory but none of the rooms very inviting. We were almost around the bend by the elevator when he looked up at me and said: "You know something? Every man in my family has died at the age of 53."