For those of us in health care, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words of social justice and serving have special meaning.
Dr. King stated, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” The national debate about health care over the last several years has greatly focused attention on this inequality.
Many would debate whether health care is a right or a privilege.
I am not an interpreter of the Constitution. I am a physician, health care administrator, and concerned citizen who sees the failure of the health care system every day.
Patients, for want of access to primary care, are falling through the cracks of fragmented and disjointed care. They end up in emergency departments or hospitals for the more expensive treatment of diseases whose progress could have been prevented by earlier and simpler interventions.
This disproportionately affects certain Americans because of inadequate access and socioeconomic factors. That is why I hope to achieve access to basic health care for all Americans.
Not in an emergency department, not episodically in a walk in clinic, but as part of a continuous and ongoing relationship to maintain health, diagnose diseases early, and prevent the more expensive options for care when access to basic health care is unavailable.
If Dr. King visited us today, I believe he would smile at the work that he inspired at Henry Ford.
Be it our work in diversity and inclusivity, creating the rich tapestry of community, the drive to establish health care equity and reduce the disparity of health in our communities through school and community clinics, or job creation and economic development within the City of Detroit.
Dr. King also would challenge, inspire, as well as exort us to do better, to achieve the goals of social justice in medicine more quickly. This challenge, rooted in the civil rights movement of the 60’s and grown in each of us inspired by Dr. King, drives us at Henry Ford in our most human of work today.
With the passage of the most ambitious legislation in health care since the time of Dr. King, and the ongoing debate about this legislation, we are on the path to eliminate some of the reasons for this injustice in health care for all Americans.
The pursuit of happiness often cannot be achieved when someone is burdened by disease.
We at Henry Ford are committed along with the communities we serve to walk in the path pointed by this great man.