Evidence framed my future
Amy Price, DPhil (Oxon), teaching at Stanford's Clinical Science, Technology and Medicine Summer Internship Program
By Amy Price , DPhil (Oxon)
When I decided to go to university after a brain injury, my family was concerned as I was vulnerable. They did not want me to be crushed by the unknown and by failure. I learned instead that failure is only an event it is not my identity. I have always understood that the unknown is the playground of the curious. Failure is a temporary state that can be changed by new knowledge, perseverance, patience and application and it can be softened by people who love and believe in you. Dare to be curious and refuse to be limited by fear!
Following rehabilitation from serious trauma and after a lifetime in International missions I started on the next adventure in life, I applied to University. I could no longer do what I did before and it was time to recreate my destiny. I was surprised that even broken, I could open doors for others and help them learn. You don’t need to have a mentor to be a mentor. Start where you and help someone do what they could not do alone, be a friend. Kindness is like a seed, when you water and nurture others and destiny will produce your harvest. I found that as I made paths for others, doors also opened for me.
Where Do I Go from Here?
“Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well dance.”
(Author Unknown, from Dear Bertha)
I struggled without success to understand and reconcile research and medicine that falsely claimed to supply breakthroughs for those without options. I would see inflated safety results and overly optimistic conclusions. I saw how non-FDA approved interventions brought harm to vulnerable people. I wanted to help and not harm. My background was in world missions and psychology. I had no prior training to assess evidence or identify poor research but that was about to change.
Remember that smallness and unkindness does not deserve a seat at the table of your destiny. Steer your own future, even when you feel afraid, don’t allow other to determine your destiny with their self-imposed limitations. Some things are worth fighting past the barriers of our limitations.
I searched and found the Center for Evidence Based Medicine website where I followed links to articles on the How to Read a Paper series and these helped clarify my direction. I wanted to learn more about health literacy and research methods so that I could never again be used as a gateway for junk science. I applied to Oxford for the Evidence Based Healthcare Programme and I was accepted. It was hands on training very much like Stanford's Clinical Science, Technology and Medicine Summer Internship, a program that aims to inspire compassionate careers in science, technology and medicine,
Anchored by Evidence
“The job of the human being [in the digital age] is to become skilled at locating relevant valid data for their needs. In the sphere of medicine, the required skill is to be able to relate the knowledge generated by the study of groups of patients or populations to that lonely and anxious individual who has come to seek help” (Sir Muir Gray, 2001)
Learning Through Teaching
From the first week in Evidence Based Health Care I found ways to share my new knowledge. I helped clinicians and the public find research and interpret the results. As I learned, I taught others about critical appraisal, numbers needed to treat, the differences between incidence and prevalence and how to read the headlines. At SASI you too will find knowledge that will change your life.
Helping others like my neighbours and colleagues with informed shared decision making became a daily event. I enjoyed my time as a student at Oxford and I made friends I will treasure for a lifetime. I was privileged to attend Oxford as a DPHIL student at Kellogg College reading Evidence Based Healthcare after successfully completing the MSc and I earned a doctorate. Many SASI alumni learn where they fit in medicine and have used the training to frame their futures and enter prestigious programs
Beyond the Barriers
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.” (Henry Stanley Haskins)
The views expressed here are the authors and they do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Stanford University School of Medicine. External websites are shared as a courtesy. They are not endorsed by the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Remember that smallness and unkindness do not deserve a seat at the table of your destiny. Steer your own future, even when you feel afraid...
Amy Price, DPhil (Oxon)
Editor, The Mentor