It wasn’t accident that the historic Supreme Court decision on healthcare reform fell on the same day as the 2nd Annual Town Hall Meeting on Health Disparities. On Thursday, June 28th I went to the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts – I was one of hundreds who came to be apart of the annual discussion on health disparities.
Christopher M. Dadlez, president and CEO of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, remarked that it was going to be “a day that will be remembered years from now.”
It was a memorable night, indeed. And the stories were inspiring. I was especially touched by Curtis D. Robinson’s story of saving men’s lives from prostate cancer.
The Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute is in its third year of helping save the lives of men with prostate cancer through preventative screenings, physician examinations, and even surgery. This partnership with St. Francis Hospital and Hartford-area organizations strive to improve the health of the community, specifically addressing the needs of health disparities among minorities, the poor and underprivileged.
The program provides care for all men regardless of having insurance – or a home. St. Francis Hospital tested a homeless man who was positive for prostate cancer. With no address, they went on a search through neighborhoods of homeless men under bridges until they located him. Then not only did they operate on him immediately, but they also provided him with an apartment and a job at St. Francis Hospital.
This inspiring story was not the only thing that resonated with me. One of the last topics discussed was on the future of medicine and how would it look like ten, twenty years from now. Will it remain a humanistic approach to medicine or will it become a robotic, computerized approach? Technology is becoming more advanced each day but when will it be deemed advanced enough to replace the specialty skills of humans?
These questions stayed with me long after the meeting; and I wondered if the advancement of medicine could ever eliminate health disparities? I could only hope.
Elizabeth Zyzo is a HJCT program intern and student at the University of Connecticut.
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