Tulane Internal Medicine Hospitalist Track

The Tulane Advocacy Track

Consistent with our mission, Tulane residents are about exponentially changing the world… and being the voice for those who have had that voice taken from them. “Doctors are the natural advocates of the poor, and social problems are largely within their jurisdiction.” Virchow said it; we believe it. And Tulane’s Internal Medicine Team is doing something about it.

It’s hard to believe that there is any program out there that would come right out and say “we don’t want to care for the poor.” If they do, well, that’s moral bankruptcy, and you should run away as fast as you can. So everyone says they care for the poor, but it is one thing to tolerate indigent health care (which is most systems)… its entirely a different thing to embrace it as your mission. Such is the Tulane heritage, going back to its partnership with Charity Hospital since 1834, and continuing today.

Every Tulane resident, as a part of their day-to-day work, devotes a substantial part of their time and soul to advocating for those who cannot do so for themselves. Of course we have an exceptional team of social workers and case managers, but still, there are some elements of social advocacy that only the physician is in a position to do. It’s the morally right thing to do, but for full transparency, it’s not sexy….and it certainly isn’t easy. Caring for those who have nothing… It’s harder… a lot harder. So if caring for your patients’ social needs seems like a burden to you, or it just isn’t something you want to do, then no judgment… but Tulane probably isn’t the place for you.

But if you see social advocacy as part of your calling, and you want to develop that part of your soul during your time of training, then you will find no training program that will support you in this effort like the Tulane Team. And having a team of like-minded people (i.e., other people who believe that social advocacy is important) around you is critical. The reality is that no physician is strong enough to carry the burden of society’s problems alone without occasionally stumbling. If you are at a training program where you are alone in your beliefs regarding the importance of social advocacy (i.e., “hey, look at liberal Wiese over there being liberal”), then one of three things will happen…either you will become depressed and demoralized, or you will become calloused and defensive. Either way, your dream of being the social advocate will be squashed out of you.

But at Tulane you can expect a different future when the day comes that you get knocked to your knees by society’s problems. There will be a team of like-minded people, people who believe what you do regarding the importance of social advocacy, people who are there to pick you up and give you the encouragement and support to get you back in the game.  And that will make all the difference in what you will be able to do to help those much less fortunate than yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint. And the day will belong to those who keep playing.

But if you want to take a step further in making this your career aspiration, then the Tulane Advocacy Track is for you. The track is reserved for those residents who wish to get an early start at establishing a career in Advocacy. Two residents are selected per year to be a part of the advocacy track. In the first year of the track, you will receive extensive training in the skills/knowledge you will need to make the most of your advocacy rotations. The second and third year’s allow for rotational experiences at the local, state and national level, where you will work with Tulane faculty in on-going research projects at the destination. Much more than becoming the “medical politician,” this enables you to participate in exponential solutions to disparities in healthcare, preparing you for an academic career where you can further those contributions.