The practice of global health connects us to people of diverse perspectives and colors, and upon reflection, to ourselves and the lived experience. We learn to respect differences and recognize shared humanness. We cultivate pure human connections rooted in empathy, unhindered by superficial separations created by classism, racism, colonialism, and structural oppression. We are invigorated by the fortune of understanding others through their histories, strengths, weaknesses, fears, and failures. We learn about ourselves by reciprocating that vulnerability, by being exposed openly. In that openness we discover weaknesses, impurities, prejudices, and deficiencies in our own substance. We are then driven to improve our humanness- to become more caring, more compassionate, more aware, and more giving.
Tragedy and suffering born from human rights inequalities, particularly health inequality, social injustice, and poverty are illuminated on a grand stage under a beam of light. All that is usually hidden is revealed. We stand united on the stage to advocate for those who have been enshrouded behind the curtain. Their tragedies teach us something about resilience, and we find hope in their strength. Their stories tremble through the comfortable encasement of our privilege until it cracks. We learn to care about something outside of ourselves.
In discovering the roots of empathy, we rediscover what calls us to the field of medicine. In its essence, this profession is a calling. At the service of the underserved, we follow that calling.