Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I am the 1%

I am the 1%. I am the daughter of a doctor. I grew up in Remuera, the suburb many of our leaders, industry heads and politicians choose to live; I went to a private girl's school. I had access to the best education money can buy, my parents ensured I had the space and energy to study. I got into medical school on my own merits, but all the good role modelling and encouragement must have helped.

At university, I was encouraged to question accepted truths, to look for evidence with my own eyes, and to read and think widely. I was taught how to identify if someone was sick and how to look after them. I was taught about risk factors, pathology, microbes and the doctor's role in society.

But this training did not prepare me for when I entered the real world, with real people. People who were not in hospital because of a simple 1+1 =2 equation, but a far more complex sequence of events which sometimes started before they were born. People whose health was almost nothing to do with pathology and microbes but much more to do with where they lived and how much education they'd had. In my first year dealing with real patients, I learnt more about being a doctor than in 6 years of medical school.

I've since learnt many more things. How health is determined by the manner in which our society looks after its members. How a small intervention early on, such as support for a struggling parent, or a good education, can save lives and money down the track. How the most valuable interventions come from the community itself, working together in cooperation. How much we know now compared to twenty years ago and how much we still have to learn.

I am the 1%. But please don't look down on me for it. I am trying to learn. I know there are others, too, who don't automatically accept what our colleagues in power tell us. After all, we received the best education money can buy. So please accept our help. Talk to us. Teach us. Tell us how we can cooperate together to make things the best they can be for our society. Then there doesn't need to be a 1% and a 99%; there will only be the 100%.


Tim Jones said...

I think this is an excellent post, Renee, but I also don't think you are the 1% - as I understand that concept (however inexactly) the 1% consists of the people and corporations who are accumulating more and more of the world's resources, while increasingly denying access to the world's wealth and resources to the other 99%.

I think most of us who are in professional and technical positions spend more time than we'd like doing the bidding of the 1%, but that doesn't make us part of that group.

(Or maybe that's just my excuse!)

AJ Ponder said...

Very nice - and maybe we should all look to how we are denying others the things we need. Even in NZ. Even if we aren't really the 1%.

And I agree if NZ better looked after its citizens there would be far less ill health.

Nice work!