, 15 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I started studying in Mexico in 2005 & I keep going back. Mexican people, history, art, and culture have been instrumental in forming my clinical practice and world view. I’m deeply grateful for their hospitality. Thank you, esteemed colleagues! 🌿
Mexico is a beautiful country.
This is an interview that I did with an indigenous midwife and curandera in rural Puebla as a medical student. She worked in a birthing & healing center adjacent to a hospital, & coordinated closely with the medical team. I learned so much from her.
What struck me watching Doña Sabina and her colleagues work as curanderas was how much they listened to their patients and how they used therapeutic touch in their practice. As an MD, there are very few circumstances in which we use therapeutic touch. The contrast is stark.
That facility was notable for how seamless the integration of traditional indigenous medicine & biomedicine seemed to be. The parteras & curanderas would refer complex patients to the hospital. They themselves took medicines & herbs. It struck me as a “whatever works” attitude.
That program shared robust literature on indigenous healing traditions from Puebla with me. I went back to medical school in NJ and shared those resources with one of our community leaders, who was coordinating with a large local Poblano community in NJ. Think global, act local.
My last trip was to a hospital in Chiapas that served a largely indigenous community there. The physicians and nurses working there were amazing, resourceful, kind people.
They had an ultrasound as their primary imaging modality, but didn’t have access to all the training resources they needed. I set up shop as temporary ultrasound & procedure coach, and we did lots and lots of scans. I left them with as many pdf textbooks as I could.
I often get frustrated in the US when things in medicine don’t work. Burnout is real. Working in a low-resource setting is a grounding reminder of what I take for granted every day.

Many patients die in other countries for lack of the resources that we have aplenty here.
This quote from Toni Morrison strikes me. Your job is to free somebody else. As a white woman in the US, I also need to be mindful to avoid a savior complex, an “only I can fix it” attitude. Humility is key. But I do have a lot of power & resources - how to use them?
Today, I think focusing on mutual respect and appreciation is key.

My Mexican colleagues taught me so much about what it means to be a real doctor. For that I am forever grateful. They deserve our respect, our hospitality, and our kindness.
The United States envisions itself as a place built on radical welcome. I’ve lived in NY 5 years, I’m a New Yorker now. My ancestors were all “other.”

To all the Latinx people who live here now, who are Americans now - welcome. You belong.

I’m so glad that you’re my neighbor.
*language note. We’re all Americans already.
Reading through this thread makes me uncomfortable. I feel like all of this should be obvious. I feel silly pointing to my Latin American and Latinx colleagues to say that they matter and are equals and I respect them. Because, obviously. I feel like a bumbling white lady.
Reading threads like the one below make me sad and angry. So I wrote my own. It feels awkward, but I’m being genuine. Mexican and Latinx culture has shaped who I am, for better. I feel obligated to say that louder, no matter how awkward I sound. Thank you.
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