Jim Crow, M.D.

First for context, Dr. Bill Frist is a former US Senator from Tennessee, was the Senate majority leader and was an often mentioned potential candidate for President. He held true to his self-imposed two-term limit and did not run for senate reelection in 2008. Prior to his political career, Dr. Frist was a highly regarded heart surgeon in Nashville, TN.

For his post-political career, Dr. Frist was convinced of the need (and of his opportunity) to positively impact health care. Interestingly, as he researched the most effective strategies in solving the health care issues in America, Dr. Frist determined that the single greatest leverage point in health care is …. EDUCATION. As a result, Dr. Frist founded SCORE in an effort to lead and promote an aggressive urban education reform agenda for the state of Tennessee. Education, in Dr. Frist’s mind, is the key driver for improving health care. Now that’s leverage.

Second, to compliment that thought, please see this article from Sunday’s Memphis Commercial Appeal on Jim Crow, M.D. and the health care gap between rich and poor / black and white (http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/jan/09/jim-crow-md-choosing-not-to-know/). I found this quote interesting and in line with Dr. Frist’s thought on education’s impact on health care.

“All the diseases disproportionately affect the poor: chiefly African-Americans and Latinos, in inner cities and rural areas, especially in the South, Appalachia and along the Mexican border. ‘You show me poor people in Memphis, and I’ll show you these diseases,’ said Hotez. He called them ‘living legacies of slavery.’ And they perpetuate a cycle of poverty.”

Lack of education leads to poverty which translates into poor health and health care. Poor health and health care leads to poverty which leads to poor education.

You teach kids and you have the opportunity to change lives. In many ways.