Health Care Rainbow
President Trump is said to have expressed a preference for more immigrants from countries like Norway and fewer from Africa and the Caribbean. That got the attention of Dr. David Anderson. It is unlikely that your new cardiologist will be Norwegian. I myself am a 67-year-old cardiologist of Norwegian heritage. Our people were farmers, my grandfather a hospital janitor and my hard working parents did not go to college. They made many sacrifices and I applied their work ethic to college and medical school. My medical school class was overwhelmingly male and white, largely Jewish and also second and third generation European from hard working families like mine. In 2018, as I walk the halls of the hospital and confer with hospitalists, surgeons and other specialists, I am struck by how much has changed. Almost to a woman, my younger colleagues are non-European. They — or their parents — struck out from Pakistan and India and China and Iran and Nigeria to make a new life for themselves and their families. As we work together to deliver the best of care to our patients, what do we have in common? Certainly it is not our ethnicity. No, it is more about our approach to our lives and work. Its shaped by what we saw in our parents, their hard work, their self-sacrifice, their pioneer spirit and their knowledge that they had to do more than the next guy to make it. I think our backgrounds lead us to place a high value on community and the need to serve. We understand at a basic level that all are equal and deserve our care and attention. Of course, it is not just the doctors that have changed my world. I am mindful of the porter from El Salvador, the ward secretary from Guatemala, the charge nurse from Nigeria, all consummate professionals doing their job and raising a family. As we chat about those families I learn that often their hard working kids will be filling future medical school classes. I am witness to a microcosm of the American dream. Let us hold it up as an example and be happy that there will be a Fatima to replace a David and an Alvarez to replace an Anderson. With a Perspective, I’m David Anderson.
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David Anderson, MD is a cardiologist with Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group in the East Bay.