Have you or a loved one gotten a mosquito bite in the last month? The entire time I’ve been on vacation, everyone is aiming to prevent Zika but at the expense of keeping the peace. The reality is, we’re more likely to get Norovirus than Zika virus. How do we go about increasing public awareness of real threats without sensationalizing them? Is it necessary to have our emergency rooms flooded by people who are afraid because of rumors that they’ve heard? The biggest question is how to we perform completely objective research and data collection when we have created a sense of panic, even without having all of the details and questions answered?
This demands that physicians take less traditional roles in the media. Instead of talk shows, we need news segments and better connections with our public health entities. This brings on more conversation centering around the role of the physician in the twenty-first century. We have grown out of the days where physicians were only needed for patient care. We must also hold positions in areas like legislature, communications, business, and most importantly, as leaders and scientists. It’s our responsibility to ensure that patients are educated and protected as we have the tools to understand and communicate the real risks to their health care.
As a budding physician, this brings both opportunity and comfort to my journey. There is more to life than the traditional practice of medicine, even for physicians.