Dr. Augie Lindmark ’19 combines science with activism, the humanities | Medicine School
Haiti. Uganda. Minneapolis. Chicago. Augie Lindmark ’19, MD, has traveled extensively. He saw the global effects of medical systems affected by colonialism and the stigma of the disease. He witnessed inequalities and communities deeply marked by history and policies that were meant to help, not hinder.
âHealth is a product of systems,â said Dr. Lindmark. “Some of these systems exist inside the body, but the majority of them don’t.”
Currently, Dr. Lindmark is a resident physician in the Yale Primary Care Program at Yale New Haven Hospital. During this time when COVID-19 is at the top of doctors’ minds and experiences, Dr Lindmark recognizes that there were barriers before the world knew about the virus. In its wake, new barriers have emerged while old ones have become exacerbated.
âCOVID-19 has made it even clearer that patients want health security. Unfortunately, the US healthcare system rarely provides this to patients, âhe said. Whether it’s massive medical bills or uncertainty over insurance coverage for testing – even after two acts of Congress attempted to impose comprehensive testing and treatment coverage – the response of our health care system with this pandemic has been a nightmare. When this is over, we will be faced with a choice: do we support a tragically inequitable health care system or do we finally invest in the notion that health is a human right? ”
Medical school wasn’t always on the books for him. After college, Dr. Lindmark traded books for a bicycle and joined The Ride Against AIDS, where he and other student activists cycled more than 4,000 miles from San Francisco to Boston. For 67 days, the group organized and advocated for sustained global financing mechanisms to end the HIV / AIDS epidemic.
âThe history of HIV has taught the world that small groups of good humans are capable of powerful progress. I guess that’s how I approach the practice of medicine, âhe said.
By combining science with activism and the humanities, Dr Lindmark has found a way to passionately pursue an important horizon. It seeks to weave responses and healing where policies have harmed local health systems. While at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Dr. Lindmark was awarded an Oryema Fellowship in Social Medicine, where he taught courses on organizing and building movements to health students in Minneapolis, in Uganda and Rwanda.
âStudents are often told that they are advocates, but they are given very few useful tools. If medicine is serious about health equity, then clinicians need to learn to organize, âhe said.
Throughout his medical experience, Dr Lindmark recalls his first two years at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Duluth Campus, as a place of academic medicine that created incredible bonds between students and faculty. . âOne person in particular, Dr. Jim Boulger, had a subtle way of instilling confidence in the students he guided,â he said. âI often think of his expansive mentorship which helped me discern a path in medicine. But, I think it is also the common culture of the Duluth campus to support, challenge and accompany medical students as the next generation of physicians.
As the United States sees an increase in cases of the virus in many cities and towns, doctors are really aware of the numbers as they treat COVID-19 positive patients every hour. âThe degrees of separation between you and someone affected by COVID-19 will only decrease. This pandemic has done a very good job of revealing how individualism is a public health response to insanity. There is no escaping the fact that we are all in the same boat. There is also something egalitarian about wearing a mask. It’s a low-key statement that says I protect myself and my neighbors.
As the frontline health worker during this pandemic, Dr Lindmark has experienced days when every patient has had COVID-19 and knows that patients can get very sick at any time. âMy days have been filled with phone calls to the families of patients, and it gets exhausting when you want to give good news but you can’t,â he said. âAt the end of the day, you find your colleagues and a therapist to debrief and treat. And then you go back to work.