Like the other residents here, I came to Telluride last week already passionate about creating a safe, high-quality future for American healthcare. As a student and now resident, it had always seemed like a daunting task, one with a few passionate Davids looking to take down the Goliath that is the ongoing epidemic of medical error.
Over the past 5 days, I met about 25 other residents, all from different backgrounds and specialties, who shared my passion. And I met and learned from over a dozen experts and leaders, physicans and non-physicians, who have been fighting the fight for a long time and who have already helped shape a safer, better landscape for medicine.
In meeting and learning from all of these people, with all of us briefly living together in the mountains of Colorado, it became clear to me that because of the work of the TPSSC faculty and the many others like them, David and Goliath is not the correct metaphor for this fight.
Like Anne in her most recent post, I was reminded of Star Wars. With the Galactic Empire (unsafe, low quality, wasteful medicine) ruling the galaxy, a small rebellion has come together, working for many years to find a way to restore balance. Over the years, the Rebellion gathers more and more support and resources, and by the end of the first movie, “A New Hope,” they have reached the critical mass needed to finally take on the Empire.
As Luke Skywalker prepares for battle, he talks with Han Solo, who is considering not joining the fight against the Empire. “Why don’t you take a look around,” Luke says to Han. “You know…what they’re up against. They could use a good pilot like you.”
Having been inspired by my fellow residents this week by the amazing work they are doing across the country, I leave with a new hope that as Telluride alums, we can be those “good pilots.” We can lead our generation of physicians to finally defeat the Empire that has been ruling America and bring in a new era of safe, high quality, cost-effective, patient-centered care, just as Han provides the critical help Luke needs to destroy the Death Star. While it will not be as simple as firing a few proton torpedoes down an exhaust port, victory is something I believe we can attain with persistence and tenacity over the course of our careers.
May the force be with us.