Sad news. Dr. Murthy is no longer our Surgeon General:
Nurse Replaces Surgeon General After Obama Appointee Resigns, New York Times, 21 April 2017
Some of the things that attracted me to him:
- He called for compassion in dealing with addiction.
- He said that gun violence was a public health issue.
- He warned about the risks of vaping and e-cigarettes.
He did it all with earnestness and positivity and bipartisanship. And humbleness:
“The role of the Surgeon General is traditionally to share wisdom with others, but it was I who learned so much by listening to your stories.”
Some excerpts from his outgoing statement:
1. Kindness is more than a virtue. It is a source of strength. If we teach our children to be kind and remind each other of the same, we can live from a place of strength, not fear.
2. We will only be successful in addressing addiction – and other illnesses – when we recognize the humanity within each of us. People are more than their disease. All of us are more than our worst mistakes. We must ensure our nation always reflects a fundamental value: every life matters.
3. Healing happens when we are able to truly talk to and connect with each other. That means listening and understanding. It means assuming good, not the worst. It means pausing before we judge.
4. The world is locked in a struggle between love and fear. Choose love. Always. It is the world’s oldest medicine.
“Thank you, America, for the privilege of a lifetime. I have been truly humbled and honored to serve as your Surgeon General.”
He taught me so much just by his manner. In this day and age where everyone seems to know everything, where no one is surprised, where revealing a sense of wonder is almost something to be ashamed of, Dr. Murthy was a perpetual student, his eyes wide and his heart on his sleeve. I am going to miss him.
See this part…
2. We will only be successful in addressing addiction – and other illnesses – when we recognize the humanity within each of us. People are more than their disease.
I worked in a diabetes practice for many years. One thing people with diabetes do not like to be referred to as is “diabetics.” I can always tell when I’m reading a study or an article if the author doesn’t have personal knowledge of the disease. Or maybe they do but they don’t care.
It isn’t just diabetes. People are not their cancer or their heart disease or their addiction. People aren’t alcoholics or drug addicts, they are people … who are coping with addiction.
It took me a while to get this. Like most things, I’m still learning.
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