Archive

Perspectives in Primary Care features writing from practitioners, activists, and community members representing organizations, practices, and institutions across the United States and around the world.

Stories

The Salutary Impact of Listening to the Trauma Story

I entered the Brighton Marine Public Health Center in Massachusetts in December 1981, where hundreds of Indochinese refugees were being medically screened after the fall of Saigon. I’ll never forget my first patient—a middle-aged Cambodian woman with major hearing loss. During the exam, she told me that her hearing loss began after being beaten unconscious by the Khmer Rouge soldiers and left for dead on a pile of the bodies of her relatives. At the time, I knew nothing about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. I had no training on the impact of extreme violence on ...
Advocacy

Language Barriers to Optimal Health Care: Caring for Migrant Workers in the Middle East

What good is art when the viewer is blind to the colors you draw in? Communication is an art that health care professionals are taught early in their medical education. We’re not only taught what to ask, but how to ask it. Beyond avoiding errors and misunderstandings, good communication builds the trusting relationships that are at the core of health care. It can be said that while medical knowledge constitutes the “health” aspect, it is communication that contributes to the ...
Advocacy

Wi! Si! Yes! We Can Provide More Equitable Care When Interpretation is Required

Imagine you’re a primary care provider at our clinic in Malden, Massachusetts. A patient quickly rattles off a list of concerns during your latest telehealth visit with her. Before you can ask any clarifying questions, you wait for the Brazilian Portuguese medical interpreter to interpret her concerns into English. You ask some questions, then wait again for the ...
Advocacy

Air Quality in Southwest Detroit: A Public Health Crisis

Southwest Detroit is currently battling some of the worst air pollution in the country. In this area, where senior centers and elementary schools sit on the borders of oil refineries, residents suffer from high rates of asthma, cancer, and respiratory illness. Asthma hospitalization rates are
Advocacy

The Conflict of Culture and Sexuality Among Arab American Women

As Arab American women studying public health at National Arab American Medical Association Next Generation (NAAMA NextGen), we’re passionate about the sexual health of our fellow Arab American women. Though the Arab region extends throughout a vast geographic area in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), resulting in diverse societal norms and cultural values,
Advocacy

Black Birthing Persons Matter—All of Them

A Black trans dad, Kayden Coleman shares his clinical experience during his two pregnancies. He recounts horrible encounters with gestational care providers, such as being offered an abortion a “ridiculous” number of times, misgendered by physicians, virtually forgotten during his postpartum period, and even turned away from care.
Advocacy

Centering the Woman in Maternity Care

Few human experiences match the intensity of stress, pain, exertion, and emotional turmoil as labor. The mortality risk in pregnancy is present for all, though Black women in the United States are
Stories

Refugee Agency and Mobile Health Solutions: The Story of Fatima Connect

Refugee, asylum-seeking, and migrant women often experience adverse reproductive health outcomes, and
Advocacy

Increasing the Black Physician Workforce: How One Student is Taking Action to Address Diversity in Medicine

“When I grow up, I wanna be Dr. G!” That was how, at seven years old, I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a doctor. Dr. Jan Garavaglia (aka, “Dr. G”) was my role model and the star of my favorite TV show, Dr. G: Medical Examiner. Growing up as an avid viewer of Discovery Health Channel programs, my earliest role models were the doctors I watched every day.
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