The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Healthcare, Politics and Advocacy with Dr. Erin Jones

Dr. Erin Jones discusses family medicine clinical rotations and effective patient activism. She serves on the faculty at the University of Southern California and as a virtual healthcare professional at 98point6.

  • [01:45] Why Family Medicine?
  • [02:54] Tips to Succeed on a Clinical Rotation
  • [05:03] Setting Expectations with Attendings
  • [07:05] How Physicians Can Advocate for Patients
  • [11:24] How Physicians Can Engage in Activism
  • [19:07] Healthcare & Politics
  • [24:24] Advice for Pre-Meds and Medical Students

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Erin Jones, a family medicine physician who has lots of experience with teaching and caring for students. She is also fellowship-trained in adolescent and young adult care. Currently, she serves on the faculty at the University of Southern California and as a virtual healthcare professional at 98point6.

Why Family Medicine?

Dr. Jones is passionate about family medicine because it allows her to engage with the entirety of a patient or person. Her patients share their struggles, such as food insecurity, lack of support for an addiction, and their inability to pay medical bills. She is also interested in the dynamics of family, and how the struggles of parents can be passed on to their children.

Tips to Succeed on a Clinical Rotation

First, Dr. Jones encourages students to be excited, eager, well-slept, and eager to work hard for the day. Besides this, they should be willing to go beyond their expertise as physicians — for example, supporting someone through an IUD insertion, or helping a patient with a injury to get to their vehicle. This is all part of an ethical medical system.

It is also crucial for students to determine the expectations of their attending. Students should ask for expectations at the very beginning of the rotation, and also frequently request feedback from their attending.

How Physicians Can Advocate for Their Patients

Dr. Jones has a three-step process for physicians to advocate for their patients:

  1. Listen to their struggles. It is impossible to adequately help without first listening.
  2. To count means to observe patterns in patients. For example, if there are disproportionately more younger patients compared to older patients, why?
  3. Asking this “why” is the third step. Once you can determine the “why” you can begin to advocate for patients.

Physicians and Activism

Due to COVID-19, there has emerged a slowdown, and an opening for discussing many social issues such as police brutality and climate change. Dr. Jones encourages physicians to use their voices, and to not separate issues like health care from racism and police brutality. Instead, they should acknowledge both systemic and individual oppression. It is difficult for a patient to trust a physician who will not, of their own volition, support basic human rights, and oppose brutality and injustice.

Healthcare is political. Issues like the Affordable Care Act and the absence of universal healthcare in the US, as well as more local healthcare issues are determined by the policies of politicians, even though these should be nonpartisan issues. Therefore, remember to vote, and use every opportunity to encourage others to vote as well!

Check out Dr. Jones’s LinkedIn.

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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