Opinions

Melissa Palma, MD, MPH Melissa Palma, MD, MPH (5 Posts)

Resident Physician Contributing Writer

Melissa Palma is an Iowa-raised daughter of Filipino immigrants and aesculapian advocate. She trained in family medicine at safety-net community health centers and is a board-certified Preventive Medicine and Public Health physician in Chicago, IL. Her writing reflects on the privileges and responsibilities we have as physicians to advance health equity for our patients and our communities. When not in clinic, you can find her reading non-fiction while nursing a taro boba tea.




Our Acts of Freedom: A Physician-Advocate’s Perspective

On the morning of January 6, I awoke ecstatic to the news of Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s predicted wins in the Georgia run-off elections. To be frank, I have become hesitant to hope while inured by the near-daily attacks on civil rights by the Trump administration via executive orders and federal policies. Over the past four years, I witnessed with pride — but also fear — as community activists tirelessly organized to combat racist policies.

A Reflection on Autonomy and Suicide in the Face of Multicultural Religious Beliefs

Above all else, do no harm. This is a basic tenet of a physician’s oath, but this oath does not always align with the religious and cultural beliefs of each patient. In cases where beliefs of faith, salvation or religion play a major factor in a patient’s desire to commit suicide, it can be difficult to draw the line between the traditional ethical guidelines of patient autonomy and non-maleficence.

Do Individuals from Low-Income Families Belong in Medicine? (Yes!)

Recently, several attending physicians sparked controversy on Twitter by implying that low-income medical students or trainees should not pursue careers in medicine. While these tweets have since been deleted, the systemic injustices that they echo still ring in the highest levels of modern medical education. As a medical trainee from an impoverished household, I have spent almost my entire post-secondary education and medical training as part of an invisible demographic.

It Is Right to Leave: Rank List Decisions as a Minoritized Medical Trainee

My fingers tense. Frozen not of my own accord. I want to do this, but I can’t. I need to do this, yet the anxiety grips at my mind and throat, stalling what should be an easy decision. As a Black, gay medical student in my fourth year, what I’m about to do has so many repercussions and permutations. So much so that I feel stuck, unable to be decisive when decisiveness is necessary.

The Unspoken

I have finally had enough. As a health care provider, COVID-19 brought about a lot of uncertainty and many changes in preparation for what might unfold. But over the last few months, the social unrest surrounding police brutality and the disproportionate occurrence of these cases towards people of color has added to my physical exhaustion by conflating it with both emotional and mental fatigue. After 32 years of tolerating systemic racism, it is finally my turn to say something.

Physician, Activist — Does One Preclude the Other?

When do you leap into the unknown and venture into the uncomfortable? Is it after methodical deliberation or is it much more abrupt, emboldened by a critical decision? Perhaps it is a deep drive within you, one that propels you forward in a way in which you cannot look back.

In COVID We Mistrust

In the pandemic’s wake, we witnessed the explosion of viral social media content such as Plandemic, an alternate exaggerated narrative which sought to perpetuate the types of claims one would expect from the title. These kinds of conspiracy theories have always existed in many different shapes and forms; however, COVID-19 struck at a time when society was suffering from a pre-existing condition of deep mistrust.

Medicine-Pediatrics Residents Call for Anti-Racism in Health Care

Recent events have highlighted a systemic problem within our world, our country, our state, and our community. People of color fight an uphill battle in every facet of life, at every socioeconomic level. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception — as we all know by now, patients from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are disproportionately afflicted. But the spotlight has refocused on a chronic pandemic: systemic racism.

in-House, the online peer-reviewed publication for residents & fellows in-House, the online peer-reviewed publication for residents & fellows (5 Posts)

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