Saturday, March 12, 2016

They mean well, but they're REALLY out of touch!

This is what I was thinking as I was sitting at a regional meeting of AIDS researchers and Physicians this past week. And my other thought was that of the 5 Black people there, not ONE had much to say about what I was hearing that literally left my mouth hanging open. Things like the fact that according to CDC data recently published, Black men that sleep with men have a 1:2 lifetime risk of contracting HIV. That's 50:50!!! WTH?!?!??!

I'll keep this short, it's IMPOSSIBLE to affect adequate change in the health status of a community when you don't thoroughly understand its "culture", even when your intentions are in the right place. Put another way, I'll fit right in as an Internist that happens to have an AIDS/HIV research background too. Interestingly, I haven't been "active" in the HIV/AIDS community for over 20 years and it's an understatement to say that things have really changed! From the drugs used in treatment (there were very few back in the day) to who's more likely to be infected with HIV (when I was an AIDS counselor in the 90's, gay, White, men topped that unfortunate list), the field has changed in a TON of ways that leave me giddy with excitement with all the new things I'm going to learn! Yes, my role will be primarily an analytical one, but I'll also have opportunities to go into the field and work with the Physicians that lead the team I'm working on. And that is SUPER cool!!

Movin' on, my MCAT study is going well so there's not much to update there. I'm going to register for the exam as soon as I find out what my summer PhD class schedule is going to be and that should be by the end of March/early April. I'm still thinking about a late June/mid July exam at the latest, since I don't want to be bogged down with final exams for my Chemistry students as well as my own final exams.  Again, having to set a specific schedule works so much better for me than having too much "freedom" of choice.

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