September 11, 2009

Healthcare, Frisbee, and Other Important Things

Our illustrious soon-to-be-inaugurated President Jim Yong Kim was to be seen on television screens across the nation today, speaking his mind about healthcare and answering the question many have been pondering: Why would someone voted one of America's twenty-five "best leaders" (U.S. News and World Report, 2005) and one of the hundred most influential people in the world (Time magazine, 2006) choose to lead... a few thousand teenagers?

Well, Mr. Bill Moyers, our president's host, asked that question; and our new president, thankfully, answered well. It seems that his motivation for trading in his career in promoting world health for a career in collegiate administration is simple: It's no trade. He hopes to continue to make the world a better place by influencing the young (that's us!) to view the earth's problems as their own and to work for a healthier future.

The time came, of course, when President Kim discussed the problems the American and global healthcare systems face. One fault of these systems, according to President Kim, is the lack of the use of "evaluative clinical sciences." One example he used to lay out his position concerned the different numbers of children with tonsils taken out in two different counties in Vermont. The reason for the drastic differential was not health-related, but instead due to the preference and benefits of one doctor in one of the counties. This "outcome variation," says Dr. Kim, is very important to study... One of the keys to lessening the inefficiency of healthcare (in this country as well as globally) may be targeting outcome variation.

As the interview continued, Mr. Moyers and President Kim spoke on a few more subjects, one of which was (of course) Frisbee, because what's an interview without a Frisbee reference? The two spoke about the prevalence of student participation in sports at Dartmouth, and President Kim sounded eager at the thought of being able to toss around a football with the team. Long story short, he seems genuinely happy at the thought of becoming our leader... and genuinely sincere in his hopes to inspire us to bigger and better things. He thinks we're "fascinating young people."

Let's not disappoint.

To see the whole interview, follow this link:

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