Wash U Dean of Diversity, Dr. Will Ross, Chats With DiverseMedicine

Dr. Will Ross, Dean of Diversity, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO speaks with DiverseMedicine about tackling health care challenges in underserved populations and provides words of wisdom to our members.

3 thoughts on “Wash U Dean of Diversity, Dr. Will Ross, Chats With DiverseMedicine

  1. Profile photo of Dr. Julie Watkins-TorryDr. Julie Watkins-Torry

    Thanks for this fabulous discussion on health dispariities and diversity in medicine! The “patient empowerment through education” concept really resonated with me. As an Emergency Medicine physician in training, I recently had a patient who had 4 months of debilitating symptoms related to poorly controlled diabetes, she had been seen at multiple hospitals with minimal resolution of her issues. The barrier to her healthcare was that she is hearing impaired and hospitals frequently did not have in-house sign language interpretive services available. She would wait for hours without the ability to communicate with her care team and she’d leave frustrated and angry with her unresolved polyuria – to the point of incontinence, persistent vaginal candidiasis extending to cutaneous candidiasis, burning peripheral neuropathy. I explained to her in simple terms the connection between high sugars and her symtpoms (with the fabulous help of ASL interpreters), she asked questions of clarification, I answered them. By the end of her visit her metformin had changed from a nuisance that she had stopped taking to a helping friend that would help her feel better. She had felt helpless and by imparting a few tidbits of knowledge acquired during the first few years of medical school, she became empowered to help herself. Before she left, she gave me a hug and told me that I saved her life. Not because I gave her fluconazole or topical anti-fungal or gabapentin or a new script for metformin – but because I gave her the knowledge she needed to heal herself. A great reminder that words can be therapeutic. Thanks again for your words of wisdom, Dr. Ross!

    1. Profile photo of Dr. DaleDr. Dale

      That’s excellent Dr. Watkins-Torry! We definitely need more of patient education and less of prescribing necessary medications simply bc we are too lazy or hurried to sit with the patient and empower them to take control of their own illnesses. I should add that I am impressed you are able to do such things as an emergency medicine physician. If you can do it in the Emergency Department, there is no reason primary care physicians and specialists should not be able to do it in their clinics!

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