Individuals have habits and populations have patterns. A doctor, PA, or RN can pick up on these habits and help the person improve their lifestyle or give them medication to lessen their symptoms. But a epidemiologist/ bounty hunter can find patterns. This is where preventative measures come into play. Before arriving in London, I knew the importance of public health in medicine, but now I’ve seen how one new practice can change health all over the globe.
Case one, with John Snow, demonstrated this fact as he shifted London’s social and scientific paradigm from Medieval to modern. Now, miasma is seen as silly, but what other practices are we doing today that could be seen as silly in the future because our health professionals aren’t addressing the root problem. This is where critical thinking, census data, and dedicated bounty hunters work their magic. I’d like to work with epidemiologists in some capacity, but I don’t know exactly how because this class has made me consider a career focused on prevention rather than diagnosis.
The tours have also shown me that one doesn’t have to be a health professional to change the way in which people are treated. Exhibit A is Thomas Coram. He was never a nurse, doctor, barber, etc. and showed no inclination to these fields. Yet, he spent over 17 years of his life beginning an important transition to a new London where children received the care they need that is sponsored by the wealthy, and later the government. Coram makes me consider health policy or administration where I could take the charge to improve health access and equity within my local community, or even on a national scale.
Even though these men were not skilled in the same area, they both improved the health and well being of a large portion of Londoners because they identified the patterns around them. But even more than that, they set the stage for other nations around the world to follow- clean water and government sponsored health care for the poor improves the health of the population.