By: Ryan Kelly
It’s no secret that doctors are viewed as experts.
They are said to provide ‘consultation.’ They hand out notes that free people from work and other responsibilities. If 4 out of 5 of them recommend something, few will disagree. Due to their esteemed position, doctors will always be seen as authority figures whom the public can trust.
But as community leaders, doctors are expected to be experts on more than just the human body. They must also be experts on any issues that directly affect their patients’ overall well-being.
This includes healthcare policies like Obamacare and Medicaid, but it also encompasses topics like government-required vaccines, medical marijuana, and other issues that impact people’s rights, freedoms, and options when it comes to health.
So, as a pre-med during an important election year, you should take the time to ask yourself: “where do I stand on healthcare issues?”
Although many online quizzes should be viewed with suspicion, isidewith.com has been used by over 36 million Americans to determine where they stand politically. Here’s a sample question from the quiz’s section on healthcare issues:
Should the federal government require children to be vaccinated for preventable diseases?
Proponents argue that vaccines are necessary in order to insure herd immunity against preventable diseases. Herd immunity protects people who are unable to get vaccines due to their age or health condition. Opponents believe the government should not decide which vaccines their children receive. Some opponents also believe there is a link between vaccinations and autism and vaccinating their children will have consequences on early childhood development.
Yes, but only for deadly contagious diseases
Yes, but with exceptions for those whose religious beliefs forbid use of vaccines
Yes, they are essential to protecting other children who are too young to be vaccinated
No, but hold parents criminally liable for transferring deadly diseases to other children
No, fund public ad campaigns about the risks and benefits instead
No, but require vaccination in order to attend public school
Regardless, this should be decided at the state level
Add your own stance
What’s great about this quiz is that it doesn’t boil issues down to a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ which forces quiz takers to evaluate the reasoning behind their positions. Doctors need to understand the nuances and extenuations of these issues so that they can break them down and make them accessible for the common patient or voter. In the same way that a doctor provides all options for a patient’s treatment, they also must be prepared to discuss all sides of a healthcare debate.
If you don’t want to look that far ahead, then consider your med school interviews instead. It’s quite possible that an interviewer will probe for your views on an issue, especially if that issue directly relates to one of your activities or experiences. Some medical school secondaries will ask hypothetical questions regarding ethics, policy, and reform. So it’s in your best interest to stay informed, carefully reflect, and be ready to explain your own views on health policy. Our monthly news roundups are a good start.
Do yourself a favor and take the quiz: http://www.isidewith.com/political-quiz
As always, it’s highly recommended.