2017 marks 60 years of resident and patient advocacy for the national residents’ union, CIR. Since 1957, CIR has been the voice for residents across the country, elevating training standards for residents and advancing patient care. Through the years, we have made positive changes in our working conditions and well-being, and have helped our patients and communities by using our collective voice and having a seat at the table with hospital administration.
In May 2017, at our National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, we wrote letters to the residents of 2077. These letters will be placed in a time capsule and preserved for CIR members until the year 2077. Here are bits and pieces of our letters.
If you wish to be part of our virtual CIR time capsule, visit us here >>
Dear Resident of 2077,
“Let me orient you on today, 2017. The latest iPhone is the iPhone 7. Our president is Donald Trump. This is perhaps the most unsettling, jarring shock for us in the last year. A coffee costs about $3.50. The USA is the only wealthy country without paid maternity leave. Electric cars are not yet a standard. The opioid epidemic is increasing premature deaths and is catastrophic. Chance the Rapper just dropped an amazing album. We search for everything in Google. 2 billion people are on Facebook. Our national healthcare plan is completely up in the air, a draft of the American Health Care Act just passed the House, the Senate hasn’t yet voted. We need to step up so that our patients are protected. Healthcare is a human right. I hope this is the case in 2077.” – Anonymous
“If you’re reading this, the world has survived Donald Trump. Congratulations! From an exhausted surgery intern to future humans: don’t lose your compassion – continue to advocate for your patients and don’t give up.” – Nicole Bilbro, Maimonides Surgery, Brooklyn, NY
“‘There is a lot of space between diagnosing a patient and making the patient’s life healthy.’ – Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, Commissioner, NYC Department of Health. This was a statement made during the 2017 National Convention, during her keynote address. In spite of the huge gains in healthcare research and discovery, disparity still plagues our communities. In spite of having iPhones, text messaging, and a million apps at our fingertips, delivering high-quality healthcare is out of reach. We residents of 2017 want to make a difference. We want to make healthcare delivery more efficient and provide team-based care that places patients at the center of our focus. The House of Representatives just passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Now is the time to help advocate for our patients and our own lives. I am grateful to CIR for providing the channel for me to get organized with my colleagues and champion for better residency training.” – Anonymous
“I am writing this from a time when profit is prioritized over people’s’ health and it seems that we are unable to move away from that as a country. I know many of the same fights for civil rights, against mass incarceration, the war on drugs, fight for better public education, anti-war movements, and climate change may still be a struggle, but I hope when you read this it will be a time when all people — regardless of their income — will have access to quality healthcare (preferably single-payer). If not, may you take up the fight as generations before have.” – Caleb VanderVeen
“‘Stories are an important tool in the advocacy toolbox.’ – Timothy Foley, CIR Political Director, 2017. At the 2017 CIR National Convention, we have discussed resident well-being and social justice — advocating for equitable healthcare for our patients is at the forefront of politics at the moment. Always remember to tell your patients’ stories and your own story to those who are making decisions. Look for opportunities to be a citizen, an organizer, a rebel, and/or an advocate, each and every day.” – Angela Barney, PGY-2, Pediatrics, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami
“CIR has been a great source of support and guidance during residency and it is up to us to keep it going. I hope that you discover the wonderful and groundbreaking advances in medicine and that our patients receive affordable and compassionate care. Best wishes.” – Anonymous
“We are the union. This is a movement to ensure that residents are treated as equal members of the medical team and not as cheap labor. Hopefully, what we do today helps you grow. Questions:
– Are you on Mars yet?
– What is space travel like?
– Are clones angry people?
– Are they people at all?”
“I hope residency is a time of growth and development for you. A time to get to know your patients, yourselves, and science. I hope no patient worries about how to pay for their care. I hope residents don’t worry about how they’ll make it through. And I hope Donald Trump hasn’t destroyed the planet.” – Chris Worsham, MD
“It’s an interesting time for healthcare -> May 2017. Trump is president and the House just passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of undermining what health equity we had. I hope you will see the changes we tried to make and our advocacy efforts. I hope you will continue the fight for equity. I hope that you do not have to fight this fight and that one day healthcare will be a human right.” – Yuvaram Reddy, PGY-2, IM, Boston Medical Center
“Wow – I hope there has been an improvement in our future healthcare system. It’s currently 2017, Barack Obama is no longer president and this past week our current House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I hope that you continue to fight for the underdog, our patients deserve the best care possible.” – J. Raynor
“Our current healthcare situation is ABOMINABLE. Big corporations take priority over people. As a family physician in the Bronx, I see firsthand how insurance can make or break people. I hope America has discovered – by 2077 – that healthcare is a HUMAN RIGHT and a universal, single-payer system is the most just option. I hope you never have to code a patient in a hall because that’s where their bed is or call insurance companies for hours to try to access life-saving medication for your patients. If you do, please keep fighting the good fight! Humanity depends on you.” – Amrita Seehra, PGY-3, Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore, Bronx, NY
“First of all, congrats on all your accomplishments as a physician. You have a rewarding career ahead of you. As part of CIR, I have learned valuable leadership skills and recognize areas of medicine that need to change and how to optimize them. I hope that 2077 has seen a change in culture in the way that residents are treated and trained, to show more respect for all the hard work you do every day.” – Cynthia Pike, PGY-3, Family Medicine
“I hope when you read this, there will be universal healthcare and that CIR is stronger and more unified than ever. Residency is a challenging journey, but always be grounded by your principles and commitment to the underserved in the daily work that you do. The biggest challenge in 2017 is the Trump “presidency” and Republican threat to healthcare. But even more of a reason to be involved with CIR and the community – to fight for healthcare as a social justice issue that everyone should have a right to.” – Laravic Flores, Family Medicine
“Sorry that you are probably screwed. Trump is president, science doesn’t exist, and capitalism and inequality have taken over our world. That said, I am here with inspiring people. I hope that our small efforts accumulate over the years and we triumph. As an EM resident, I hope that 2077 residents are no longer facing what I face, and can provide care to all – even the uninsured.” – Hannah Janway
“As CIR members, we have power in numbers and can accomplish so much!” – Anonymous
“Always advocate for yourself, your colleagues, and most important of all, your patients!” – Cristina S., Saint Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC
“CIR is awesome. Back in 2016 I helped with salary negotiations. CIR helps us and I hope you continue building this strong union.” – Camille Samujh, Anesthesia Resident, Maimonides, Brooklyn, NY
“Joining CIR was one of my great experiences and a milestone in my career. My dream is for a fair healthcare system.” – Anonymous
“My hopes for the residents of 2077: a stronger and larger union.” – Anonymous
I hope 60 years from now we have affordable healthcare for our communities and no longer rely on private health insurance.” – Panzly Menocle, Psychiatry Resident, Bronx-Lebanon
“You never know which conversation will be life-changing for a patient, or which political action will change the course of history. Keep doing all of the amazing work that you do and know that you will leave a righteous legacy.” – Anonymous
“Never stop fighting for what you believe in. Diversity in all aspect of life. Keep your head up during residency. A path was set for us, please set one up for future residents.” – Anonymous
“Be positive. Be strong. Together we can accomplish anything. Despite the rapid, unexpected changes of 2016-2017, we stood together knowing we could make a difference.” In solidarity, Davis Truandualiu
“I hope you have Star Trek level medical devices. That you have objective means of treating mental illness with better medications. Most of all, I hope we have Universal Health Care!” – Patrik Jain, Psych PGY-2, Jamaica Hospital, NY
“I am passionate about advocacy for my patients and co-residents. CIR has given me an avenue to serve in that capacity.” – Anonymous
We must remember: Individually, we are weak and can easily be dismissed. But together we are strong and unified. That is how we are able to create change and maintain safer standards within our hospitals. With a collective voice, we are more powerful and we can’t be ignored. We are proud to be part of CIR’s 60-year legacy, and we can’t wait to see the many more positive changes residents make in the future.
What are your thoughts on 60 YEARS of CIR? Add your thoughts to our time capsule, which residents will open in the year 2077!