On January 21, Dr. Sabrina Taldone was one of 13 resident physicians from Jackson Health System in Miami who joined an estimated 470,000 people in the Women’s March in Washington, DC. She reflects on her experience below:
I am so proud of the generations before me who defended women’s rights, and that my generation is joining to take a stand. This march reminds me of the responsibility we have to family and to society. I marched for my mom, my sister, my aunts, my grandmas, my teachers, my friends, and future generations of girls. I marched for the men who have supported me to reach my dreams; they have been men of quality who do not fear equality.
The transformational leadership of the Women’s March organizers inspired millions across the globe –including me – to feel empowered to organize and to speak up. We are our own advocates in protecting the values that matter most to us. We have to prioritize forthright communication with one another in order to come to understandings and develop compassion on complex issues.
I will never forget the sense of awe that took over me when witnessing the sheer number of individuals at the march, and how we were able to march peacefully and in solidarity with sister marches around the world, and with those not at the march who were nevertheless marching in spirit. The atmosphere was positive, inclusive, and electric. “This is what democracy looks like!” we cheered down the streets. I remembered how much I appreciated America’s freedom of speech and right to organize.
I marched because of the consequences of remaining silent. When I took the Hippocratic Oath upon starting medical school, I swore to do no harm. In today’s political environment, I could foresee how my silence would cause harm for my patients and the societal values I hold strong to. My duties extend beyond the walls of the patient’s room or the hospital because my duties extend into the political arena — one which used to seem too distant a realm for me to touch. Well, the Women’s March shattered those preconceived notions. Furthermore, our CIR workshop on fostering community partnerships right after the march reminded me that any movement starts with taking manageable steps at the local level, and finding support locally, to join tiered national efforts.
The Women’s March galvanized the public to take action. Now the hardest part remains: to keep the momentum going. The march recharged my determination to champion for the rights of patients’ access health care. When I returned from the march, I was pleasantly surprised by how many friends came up to me to ask how they could get more involved in advocating for their values to our political leaders.
In medicine, as in many professional fields, politics is a “delicate subject” and difficult to address. Sharing stories from the march “broke the ice”: it enabled a dialogue among faculty, residents, and students to discuss politics. It has always marveled me that the health care industry, one of the most regulated industries in the USA, has estranged the physicians and healthcare providers from the issues that impact how we practice medicine. The Women’s March reinforced that all of us have a purpose in leading the direction our communities and our nation may take in the years to come. Hope, not fear, will help us bring about progress for society.
CIR and our residency programs serve as conduits through which we may target our collective objectives as leaders in the future of health care. We are a strong constituency, inspired to make our voices ring loud and clear to bring about long term policy proposals as solutions. We are ready to defend the vulnerable safety net healthcare system that fosters our education and that has graduated thousands of resident/fellow physicians to care for our society locally and across the USA.