Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California at Davis Health System
"After a week of school, the Free Clinic was a breath of fresh air. I would leave there with a feeling of, Yeah, this is what I want to do with my life! Give some medical attention to the folks who can’t afford private doctors or medical insurance."
A Short Life, by Jim Slotnick
Sitting here today as I enter my final year of residency in emergency medicine, Jim’s words are a familiar reminder of one of the initial sparks that paved my path in medicine, advocacy, and public health. Jim’s discontent with the initial phase of medical school — the unending memorization of facts prior to the clinical years — is an all too echoed voice heard today by current and past medical students like myself. I vividly remember applying to the Slotnick Fellowship and wanting to be chosen so that I could begin my clinical experience. As I began to work as a Slotnick Fellow I began to recognize again why I was so excited about medicine and that “Yeah, this is what I want to do with my life!” Not only did the Fellowship reinvigorate my passion for medicine, but like Jim, it inspired my desire to give “medical attention to the folks who can’t afford private doctors or medical insurance” and became a guide to find a specialty that attained this goal.
Toward the end of my time as a Slotnick Fellow, I distinctly remember being handed Jim’s book. I spent the next two nights reading it and was moved by Jim’s story. It was clear that his book was meant to be appreciated by a larger community — we all can learn something from his life.