Maybe some of you have heard about the abrupt closure of the Long Island Bridge this week. Long Island is home to some important services for marginalized and vulnerable populations, including a homeless shelter and a detox and methadone treatment facility. The below article describes how staff at Andrew House had 2 hours notice to find new placements for 60 detoxing patients before the bridge closed. The people who use the services located on Long Island will now need to seek help elsewhere, and Boston’s substance abuse treatment facilities are already overcrowded.
Please write or call the Mayor’s office and/or your City Councilor to urge them to find a solution quickly! Below is a sample script you could use, but feel free to come up with your own!
“Dear Mayor Walsh/City Councilor ______,
My name is __________ and I am a medical/dental/public health/law/social work student here in Boston. I believe that all Boston residents deserve access to services that will promote their health and prolong their life, which is why I was dismayed to hear that the abrupt closure of the Long Island Bridge disrupted access to vital services for individuals experiencing homeless and/or substance dependency here in Boston. More people die each year in MA from accidental opiate overdose than from motor vehicle accidents (MA Department of Public Health, 2012), and enrollment in a methadone treatment program has been demonstrated to significantly decrease risk of death from an overdose. Given the increasing rates of death from opiate overdoses here in Boston, we should be expanding access to these services, not eliminating it. I therefore urge you and the City Council to work to find a solution to the Long Island Bridge closure that promotes public safety AND preserves access to needed services.
1) Go to cityofboston.gov
2) click the “government” tab on the right top of the screen
3) Follow links to either Mayor’s Office or City Council on the left (then click on your city councilor, or the link to find your city councilor if you don’t know which is yours!)
4) Find and click the “contact” link
5) copy and paste the text you want to send, or just type it directly
6) I think it’s good to include “Boston, MA” in your signature so they know you live here, and add in some language about being one of their constituents
7) Click send!
This will take you less than 5 minutes! Promise!
If so, the 3-week course “Beyond the Biological Basis for Disease” offered by Physicians for Haiti and taking place in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, may be the perfect fit for you! Below are the course objectives, eligibility criteria, and application process. These and all that you need to know about the course can be found by clicking this link to the handout.
1. To promote international solidarity and partnership for generating solutions to global health challenges facing societies throughout the world
2. To foster reflective dialogue between Haitian and international medical students as a means of strengthening ties between the next generation of Haitian health professionals and a global network of their peers.
3. To provide a structured global health experience for medical students with dedicated supervision and teaching in clinical medicine and social medicine
4. To study issues related to global health in a resource-poor setting with an emphasis on local and global context
5. To foster critical analysis of global health interventions in resource-poor settings
6. To facilitate the development of a clinical approach to disease and illness using a biosocial model through structured supervision and teaching
7. To build an understanding and skill set associated with physician advocacy
Eligibility criteria for applicants
- Medical student of any year
- Fluent in French
- Available for the entire length of the course (July 14-August 1, 2014)
Applications are due January 15, 2014.
Credit for away electives can usually be arranged with a student’s home institution.
**To complete an application or for more information, please visit www.socmedglobal.org or www.physiciansforhaiti.org**
Here is information on an exciting opportunity to attend the International Street Medicine Symposium in Boston on October 24-26!
Much of advocacy is simply crafting and sharing a message about a topic of interest with the public, and one of the best ways to reach a wider audience is through writing.
In-Training is an online magazine written and peer edited by medical students that welcomes writers with any amount of experience to write on a topic of their choice. It may be a great first step for those interested in publishing advocacy pieces.
Click here for more information on how to get involved.
Thanks to Jacob Walker, BUSM, for this link.