I'm a Los Angeles-based medical doctor who, for the past 25 years, has specialized in treating the LGBT community. I've witnessed the ravages of AIDS, the physical and psychological trauma of violent hate crimes, depression and suicide in a community specifically targeted for discrimination because of who they love.
Our physician training system currently increases suffering for patients like me and the millions of community caregivers who help us. It raises healthcare costs and adds significantly to physician burn-out because we neither select for empathy nor prepare future doctors to understand how patients work, live, and die.
Now is the time for medical communities everywhere to examine existing processes critically, pursue thoughtful advances in how we deliver care, and promote a culture that engages staff in the improvement process. Taking care of patients is not only about the therapies we provide but also having the most effective care delivery systems possible. By that metric, American health care still has significant room to grow.