There are plenty of sights and sounds that pleasurably impinged upon me during my trip to New York yesterday. I can't report all of them. There was the exchange I witnessed at Yona Schimmel's Knishery between a guy and a gal, a couple:
"These are kenishes," said the guy. "You get them with fillings. Apple, kasha..."
"Oh, look," she said. "They have egg roll filling, too." And then, as if with a sudden realization: "Oh, honey, I want to be a counselor."
Finally, after a pause: "I think I'd like one with mushroom."
* * *
One of the most enlightening experiences of the day was meeting with two MPH students from CUNY, one of whom is by training a registered dietitian, the other a pediatric occupational therapist. They have had many research projects and interests among them. Enlightening, because they recognize the importance of primary care providers (really, the topic of my book - or the relationship and communication around the PCP-patient partnership), but at the same time point out how little recognition some health care workers give to others. To be frank: doctors often have no idea what therapists, nutritionists, and social workers do, much less mention them explicitly as part of the team. Later in the day, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Barbara Glickstein, public-health nurse, activist, and co-producer of the WBAI radio show Healthstyles. She is an experienced interprofessional health educator, and I meant to bring up with her - though I didn't - that we should expand the boundaries of such education. Students from every single health field should be able to work together in their development and simulate the complicated, sometimes trying process of working together as a team for the benefit of a single patient.
There is an axis to navigate here. On the one end is the long-term, hopefully stable relationship of primary provider and patient - and on the other, the fact that all health care workers must cooperate in such a way as to foster trust by the patient in their group effort.