Good Trouble in Global Health

Parker Miller, Writer

John Lewis believed healthcare was a right and not a privilege. He was a huge proponent of healthcare reform and believed that people shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and going to see a doctor. In the twenty-first century and two years since the death of Congressman Lewis, we are still dealing with twentieth-century global health issues where improvements in access to proper healthcare could help diminish and eventually eliminate these concerns.

Even world superpowers, such as the United States are plagued by everything from poor drinking water, increased cases of NCDs (non-communicable diseases), and health care disparities. Across the board when looking at global health issues, the commonality between them is the lack of access. The lack of access to preventive care, funds, healthcare education, proper nutrition, and a working healthcare system for all people contributes to the underlying problem in global healthcare today. 

When patients can receive access to health care, they are empowered to build beneficial relationships with providers to ultimately control and later overcome illness and injury. Without this access, people have no choice, but to live with undue pain and conditions that usually worsen over time. In coming up with a solution we need to take a closer look at these barriers to access: high medical cost, transportation, health care avoidance, and implicit bias. We can begin to break down these barriers by expanding Universal Health Coverage, improving internet availability, thus extending Telehealth services, increasing the number of mobile, rural, and urban neighborhood clinics, implementing health education programs, right-sizing and training staff to improve productivity, and efficiency of care while maintaining overall patient satisfaction, and recruiting, hiring, and staffing medical providers that are a reflection of the patients they serve. Collaborative actions across countries coupled with fresh perspectives in dealing with the “access” gap will bring us closer to eliminating global healthcare issues in this century. 

In my home, my mother always preached the value of living a life that will make you a good ancestor. Congressman Lewis is just that. His legacy will endure based on the things that he did, but his ancestry will be cherished based on the person he was. Just like Congressman  Lewis, I am committed to giving my time, my talents, and my career, to becoming a part of the solution and a good ancestor. I am committed to caring for, treating, and curing diseases such as diabetes and sickle cell, which with the advancements in genetic engineering, will one day be eradicated. This is the “good trouble” I would like to be a part of as a biomedical engineer, researcher, and healthcare advocate. It’s the “good trouble” I need to be involved in now because in the words of John Lewis, “It’s always the right time to do the right thing.”