Resident, Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
I have now read Jim’s memoir, A Short Life, three times. The first time was the summer I was a Slotnick Fellow. I distinctly remember how Jim felt leaving numerous doctor visits. He felt unattended to, as if the doctors weren’t even listening to him. I was so struck, perhaps because I too have felt the same. As I began my summer work at the Saban Free Clinic, I wanted to make sure I never made anyone feel like he did. With every patient encounter, no matter how big or small the ailment, I wanted to ensure that each patient felt like they were heard. I wanted to really listen. It was with each patient visit that I really began to learn the importance of empathy when caring for a patient.
My time at The Saban Free Clinic was a formidable one; one that has forever shaped my perspective on healthcare. I saw first hand how an urban region as populated and diverse as Los Angeles is particularly vulnerable to disparities in healthcare. It is clinics like Saban that help to alleviate these massive inequities. My Fellowship experience served to heighten my leadership skills, my analytical skills, and gave me a better understanding of the political landscape of our healthcare system. I realized as a future doctor, I cannot ignore these larger problems and will continually work toward making tangible change. It was here that I learned that advocacy is forever linked to the practice of meaningful medicine.