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Looking Outward: The Importance of the Communities Around Us


As an intern, you are so focused on becoming a competent physician that sometimes all you can help but do is focus on the things you are doing for your individual patients. Diagnosing them. Treating them. Having proper follow up. Those three things become so important to you, that it’s easy to forget the surrounding casts to our patients.


As pediatricians, we see children on a daily basis, but most of them come with a family. It’s this family that is around each patient that becomes just as important as diagnosing and treating those conditions. It’s the family that will have an impact on that child once you leave. It’s the family that will help get the medication or even the proper nutrition for that baby to grow up.


Even still, beyond our families, are the policies and problems in the community. Some families don’t have access to fresh food or live in a dangerous area. Others walk around our cities at night with no place to stay. It could also be the immigrant family who just moved here to start again, but with little help to figure out this whole new world. Even though these problems exist in our community, as pediatricians we have the power and responsibility to work towards fixing these problems. Whether this is through legislation or even just connecting families with the proper resources, we truly can help these families. When we help the communities we live in, we help the families that live there. When we help the families living there, we then positively impact the lives of children, even children beyond just the ones we’ve seen in the clinic.


This community rotation has opened my eyes to so much more than just our patients. Our scope of practice and how positively we can impact families reaches far beyond just the office visit. It extends into their house, their neighborhood, and even to the state and beyond. Even though I am continuing towards becoming the best intern and physician I can be, I am opening up my eyes to more of these issues that go beyond the children I see. It’s about helping them in every way I can, from helping their family and the community they live in, to engaging around state programs and policies that impact children and families. Going forward from this month, I feel equipped with so much more power to do good beyond the office, and it’s something I can’t wait to get a chance to do more of for each child and family.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.