More than that, while it might be fair to call such diagnostic tests as colonoscopies and mammograms "preventive," they are still clearly procedures, are expensive, and comprise a disproportionate share of expenditures on preventive medicine. According to the University of New Mexico School of Medicine: Preventive medicine is the medical specialty which focuses on the promotion, protection, and maintenance of health and well-being, the prevention of disease and disability, and the premature death of individuals in defined populations.
In April, 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Commission to Build a Healthier America issued a comprehensive 126-page report entitled "Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America." The report throws down this gauntlet:
Underscoring the futility of the "disease care" model, the report emphatically states that "health is more than [conventional] health care."
Much has been said about our society's ironic turn of events whereby poor people have a greater chance than others of being obese. It is one thing to press for improved physical access to healthier foods, but it is another to make them affordable. A true health care policy would transfer some of the gigantic agricultural subsides to healthy fruits and vegetables.
Of course, there is no shortage of debate as to what constitutes a healthy diet. Among other things, there are many authorities who question our obsession (via the Feds and most disease trade associations) with a low-fat/higher carbohydrate diet—especially since it certainly is not preventing obesity, and is surely not helpful for those with type 2 diabetes!
Besides big picture new directions in health care, individual people are pursuing new directions, as well. There are many physicians who are burned-out and disappointed with our current system. One primary care doctor told me of his frustration in practicing what he called "Whac-A-Mole medicine," wondering how many people he was really helping. In the current environment, some docs have left the field altogether, but others have made the switch to preventive medicine, and tell me they feel re-energized.
I spoke recently with Kacy Andrews, CEO of the International Academy of Film and Television. [http://www.iaft.net] Founded in 2004, with its first facility in the Philippines, IAFT now also has campuses in Los Angeles, Miami, and Hong Kong. Notably, in August, 2010, when The Hollywood Reporter looked at international film schools, IAFT was named one of the best.
Kacy mentioned individuals with day jobs in health care, who came to IAFT to improve their communications skills, and possibly to pursue their own dreams in film and television. "If you've taken one of our courses, you should be able to put together a great presentation on behalf of your institution. Or, if you do choose to outsource the production, you will be in a much better position to manage the project."
Kacy referred me to Irena Byriel, one of IAFT's current students, and a former allied health professional with a passion for communications...
Irena also related an excellent piece of advice she received some years ago : May you be driven by your passions and not by your fears. Well said. A little more passion and less fear on the part of health care practitioners would be most welcome.
Michael D. Shaw
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