The Western Health Care Leadership Academy Conference in San Diego provided an amazing review and discussion of healthcare policy. While everyone was unified in the goal of make healthcare more affordable while protecting physician quality of life, diverse opinions were represented regarding how to reach that end. From support for market-based reforms to single-payer, I felt that the excellent speakers accurately reflected the views of the people with whom I held private conversations. The discussions on healthcare policy were perfectly balanced with other speakers who spoke on innovations in biomedical engineering and the importance of the patient-doctor relationship.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Abraham Verghese, physician and best-selling author of Cutting for Stone gave what was perhaps the most beautiful discussion of the role of the physician in society that I have ever heard, using fine arts—specifically The Doctor, by Luke Fildes—to drive home the physician’s role in society. Finally, the conference organized a series of breakout sessions designed specifically for medical students and residents to prepare us for leadership. These sessions covered everything from business essentials to advocacy and provided a great opportunity to network with other students. I hope that every medical student has the opportunity to attend such an educational and inspiring conference!