12:30 - 12:50 pmSaturday, September 6
LK 130
A patient of privilege speaks up and asks the question: What if?
LK 130
A patient of privilege speaks up and asks the question: What if?
Educator As Patient
In sociological circles, privilege refers to having advantages by way of association. As a middle class, middle aged, heterosexual white woman from the Midwest I carry with me many privileges.In health... Read more

Description

In sociological circles, privilege refers to having advantages by way of association. As a middle class, middle aged, heterosexual white woman from the Midwest I carry with me many privileges.

In health care circles, I carry even more. I am a former medical school faculty member. I currently work to develop and implement health education and policy initiatives. I have remained friends with many of my former medical students and in fact it was one of them that suggested I submit to this conference. All of these associations provide me with the vocabulary, the credentials and knowledge to navigate the health care system.

In August of 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and those navigation skills were put to the test.

There were 189 days between when I confirmed the mass in my right breast and when I finished chemotherapy – if it was not for my privilege I believe that time would have been much longer and my outcome may not have been as positive as it is.

Privilege permitted me access to screenings. Privilege afforded me the ability to be assertive rather than passive in seeking treatment. Privilege allowed me to overlook more than a few ‘cultural’ barriers and not let them deter my efforts towards remission. Privilege provided me with a job that allowed me to take short term disability so that I could focus on my treatment and my recovery. Privilege granted me the opportunity to share my story via social media and, to date, reach people in 22 countries and 37 states.

As we think about care, technology, cures, quality of life and saving the world – we have to consider the privilege we bring to the table. We must acknowledge the privilege or the lack of privilege of our patients.   

We will consider the “What if’s” of lacking privilege.  What if an individual can’t get access to the screenings they need? What if they think that passivity is the best way to show deference? What if a cultural misstep derails an appointment? What if an individual can’t focus entirely on their recovery? What if that patient is alone and does not have a social network to support them?

We will question our assumptions and recognize the privilege that comes with being part of the system. If one of us can get lost, confused, frustrated, denied or deterred, what happens to someone without the vocabulary, the credentials, the knowledge or the privilege? 

Darci L. Graves self-identifies as a social activist, educator and lifelong student, cancer survivor, lover of art, human to Ella Jane, photographer, mentor, satirist, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, friend, and hopeful humanitarian. Her philosophy is that thought-provoking and inquisitive individuals can enhance the quality of people’s lives through a commitment to respectful understanding, a lifetime of learning, and a profound sense of community. This philosophy has served as the underpinning to her academic and professional career.

 Passionately curious about people’s stories and making sure they are heard, her professional, academic, and volunteer work has touched on areas of religion and spirituality, race and ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status. Her own story includes being a bit of medical zebra, including overcoming cancer in her 30s and cataracts in her 20s. 

Darci L. Graves holds graduate degrees in Communications, Religion and Sociology, and Public Policy and has almost 15 years of professional and academic experience in the fields of cultural and linguistic competence and education. A former faculty member at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Darci aided in the development, implementation, and management of the diversity, spirituality, communications, and geriatrics curricula. Since then she has continued to develop cultural and linguistic competency curricula around topics including public safety, disaster preparedness and response, language access, domestic violence, and more.

Her presentation, A patient of privilege speaks up and asks the question: what if?, is born out of her experiences following an August 2013 breast cancer diagnosis. It was at that time she launched her blog, Educator as Patient, so that she could share her journey with breast cancer. There she writes about the various the facilitators and barriers to care she witnessed and experienced, including reflections on how her privilege influenced her ability to navigate the system.

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