Dr. Bateman, BHC founder and medical director, reflects on the progress in 2016 and plans to power-up her dedication to patients.
The “wear wild socks” year was amazing, marked by the quick-paced steps of the turtle-carrying-hares toward illness recognition and biomarker discovery. (Read how it all began HERE.) The recipe for this success has been the collective ever-stronger voice of patients, caregivers, advocates, donors, providers, scientists and federal employees— virtually powerless for decades as individuals, now stronger and unstoppable as a team.
As I write, my email is “dinging” with the announcement of federal funding for ME/CFS collaborative research centers and Data Management and Coordinating Centers. I could take my wild socks off right now if research biomarkers were the only goal, but we still need this science to change what happens in the clinic.
Sadly, despite scientific progress, most patients still have trouble getting compassionate and skilled medical care from physicians. There are still only a handful of experienced clinical ME/CFS and FM specialists. The number of patients seeking medical care exponentially outnumbers the experienced providers available. Most patients still feel marginalized and afraid. Most lack basic informed care from medical professionals, relying instead on internet resources, YouTube videos and social media. But we don’t have to wait for the fruits of Collaborative Research Centers to achieve the goal of accessible medical care.
My 2017 goal is to actively introduce the science of ME/CFS and FM to clinicians in academic institutions, health organizations, and private practice.
- It is time for primary care clinicians to be part of our collective strong voice.
- It is time for all specialists to understand how ME/CFS and FM impacts delivery of their care.
- It is time to train young physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
It will take a dedicated, diverse, and determined team to drive progress where we need it to go!
How quickly this can be accomplished will depend, in part, on the ability of BHC to raise money, hire and train well qualified medical staff. I’m also counting on the involvement and support of my patients, ever seeking creative and impactful ways to engage them in the process and progress.
As a visible symbol of this goal I am going to POWER UP my wardrobe [ugh… I truly hate wearing anything that’s not thrifty or casual] and working each day to stand out. I will either wear a WHITE COAT [ugh ugh, really not my favorite], or don other “power” clothing in my visible role as a physician. (Hmmm…this could get expensive; my wardrobe is overwhelmingly casual. But worth investing in to make a powerful statement!)
Together we can #SockItToME/CFSandFM