Sunday, August 5, 2012

The health disparities "myth"????

"There is absolutely no survival gap by race" at St. Jude, said Dr. Ching-Hon Pui, chairman of the oncology department at the Memphis hospital and lead author of the study.

The findings, he said, confirm the benefits of St. Jude's aggressive, individualized treatment practices, which are extended to all patients regardless of their families' abilities to pay.


I was a fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) during the time the Center To Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) was being formed and because of my ties to folks high up in administration of the NCI, I was given a front row view of the challenges this most recent institute of the NIH had in justifying it's existence. I'm going to repeat that because I STILL can't believe what I observed getting this organization up and running. This institute had to justify it's existence as if the cancer morbidity/mortality of Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans needing ANY justifying at all.

So it's been interesting to me as I write my proposal to get funding from this institute from now through to MD/PhD, to see info on the web which contradicts what the data tells me. Until I dig a little deeper and realize that the fact that a place like St. Jude can demonstrate NO disparity in ONE cancer because of "St. Jude's aggressive, individualized treatment practices, which are extended to all patients regardless of their families' abilities to pay". The message there is glaringly obvious to me. Yet so many seemingly intelligent and educated people wanted to keep an organization like CRCHD from being developed in the first place.
Well I guess that's water under the bridge as my mother would say, hopefully I'll be back to being a funded NCI fellow VERY soon!

I also wanted to report on how my first Orgo tutoring session in the last I don't know how many years went, and it went surprisingly well!! My student happens to not only live in the neighborhood across the street from mine, she also attends my Alma Mater. So, we had a LOT more to talk about other than Orgo. We covered a LOT more than I was prepared to cover based on our prior discussion, but I was able to help thanks to my Fesseden and Fesseden Orgo book from 1970, LOL!!! And I sincerely hope she reviewing what we discussed on vacay because she seems like a good kid, as in I'm old enough to be her Mom! WOW!! Hopefully, I didn't come off too parental and I guess I didn't since we've already scheduled our next 4 sessions for just before her final. And for what I'm being paid, I'm kinda thinking I'm in the WRONG business, LOL!!! But I know deep down that doing this full-time would never work because no patient involvement and paper reading is required. Plus, I really only went back into it to make myself a better candidate for a teaching position at a local community college.

Speaking of paper reading, I know many people who believe it's impossible to read and listen to music at the same time, but the music by the artist album cover below just gets me in "paper reading" mode because for me,when Erykah's music comes on I know it's time for business!!!

Moving on to the lab, work is going well and I've already met quite a few mew people of color with recent PhD's who are helping me a ton! And when you're almost always the only person "like you" in a research environment, it's just an added plus to have some cultural commonalities besides the obvious interest in science.

Finally, I recently learned that the ENTIRE division of my last gig is being disbanded, as in I'm not surprised a bunch of insecure and incompetent sycophantic suck ups aren't needed anymore. And while I'm usually sympathetic to people in these situations, anyone reading my blog regularly probably understands why I feel nothing at all except relieved that no one else will EVER have to deal with what I endured dealing with those folks. I say what comes around goes around, and that my "golden parachute" held up just fine!


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