Better to Best: Thoughts on Global Health Care Systems

Support the Robin Hood Tax Campaign! The Incredible Hulk does.

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on June 19, 2012

From Jennifer Flynn of Health GAP (Global Access Project)

Dear Reshma, 

What do you and Mark Ruffalo, Chris Martin, and Tom Morello have in common? You all want to see the end of the AIDS pandemic, stop climate change, ensure that we all have education, healthcare and a place to live, and you can all be a part of the launch of the U.S. Robin Hood Tax Campaign. Robin Hood has finally arrived in the United States – Check out this video for proof!
Today is the launch of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign in the United States.
Wall Street’s recklessness and the financial crisis it caused crashed our economy, and the progress we had previously made in fighting the AIDS pandemic has since been halted. But imagine if we could raise the funding we need to turn all that around–hundreds of billions of dollars not from ordinary people but from Wall Street itself.

A Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street would be a tiny tax of less than half of 1% on speculative Wall Street transactions that could generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The money generated could not only end the AIDS pandemic, but could create green jobs in the United States, strengthen domestic health care, education and infrastructure, and fight climate change. This tax is not a tax ON people, but a tax FOR people.

Can you help us launch this campaign successfully?

Are you in New York? Come out to our rally at NOON today in front of of JP Morgan Chase offices, at 270 Park Avenue, and join Robin Hood activists, speakers and supporters in launching this campaign.

Not in New York? Robin Hood supporters are rallying all over the country  – find the rally closest to you here.

Can you send this campaign video to everyone you know? After you watch the video, sign up to show your support for the campaign, and share it online through twitter and facebook. This afternoon, come back to the Robin Hood website to sign a petition to Obama in favor of the tax.   

Today groups across the country are joining together in the Robin Hood Tax campaign—AIDS activists, labor and community groups, faith communities, and environmental advocates.  Pushing Wall Street to pay their fair share won’t be easy: They have millions of dollars to lobby against us, but we have millions of people.

Spread the word, sign the petition and help us build the movement. Together we can turn this great idea into a brilliant reality.



Jennifer Flynn
Managing Director
Health GAP
429 West 127th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10027
mobile:  +1-917-517-5202
phone:  +1-212-537-0575
fax:  +1-212-937-5283
skype:  jenniferaliceflynn
twitter:  jenniferflynn

S. 27: Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on November 15, 2011

Ending Pay-For-Delay Deals Could Raise over $5 Billion
November 8, 2011
By GoozNews
The deficit reduction “super committee” charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in budget reductions over the next decade shouldn’t let this one pass. The Congressional Budget Office today estimated that ending drug industry “pay for delay” deals with generic manufacturers will save the federal government over $5 billion over the next decade.

The “Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act,” sponsored Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., with eight co-sponsors, including two Republicans, requires that any deal between two companies that delays production of a generic drug after a patent has expired must show that the deal is “pro competitive,” which would effectively ban the practice. The Federal Trade Commission issued a report a year ago that found 66 of these deals reached over the past half decade were costing consumers about $3.5 billion a year.

Pharmaceutical industry lobbyists succeeded in stripping an earlier version of Kohl’s bill from the health care reform law. At the time, CBO had estimated it would save the government about $2.8 billion. Now, with Lipitor coming off patent and several more blockbusters to follow, the stakes are considerably higher. The latest CBO report estimates the legislation will save Medicare and Medicaid $4 billion by lowering drug prices between 2012 and 2021. Over the same time period, the government would generate about $800 million in additional taxes and reduce administrative expenses by about $400 million.

This bill’s a no brainer. If the Super Committee recommends further cuts to Medicare and Medicaid without ending pay for delay deals or requiring drug and biotech companies to offer Medicare the same low prices they offer Medicaid, consumers and patients will know who won the behind-the-scenes lobbying battle now raging on Capitol Hill.

I’m back!

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on May 9, 2011

I am now a 3rd year. This past week, our class had orientation. I think all of us became very aware that not only were we done with hours of studying and exam after exam after exam, but that we were going to be interacting with patients full time. We weren’t pretending anymore. This was the real deal. I think most of us were scared. At least, I hope so. Cause I sure as hell am.

I start with child psychiatry tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect and am trying to refrain from thinking of the various Law and Order: SVU episodes I’ve seen with Dr. Huang interviewing a traumatized child victim of abuse. Right now, school seems pretty surreal. I just came back from studying for hours on end each day and then went on a brief vacation to Barcelona and Paris coming back the night before orientation. The jet lag has been helpful though, forcing me to sleep early and wake up early which will be useful for the coming weeks when I have to be at the hospital at 7 am, if not earlier.

This upcoming year is filled with lots of exciting new opportunities such as being involved with the AMSA PharmFree Campaign (check it out – ), another patient safety conference, and figuring out what I’m going to do between my 3rd and 4th year (more on that later).

Right now, I can barely fall asleep from excitement and fear for tomorrow. I washed my white coat, found my name tag, and packed lunch. I also cleaned my room. I’m actually a bit sick right now and am hoping that my DayQuil/NyQuil combo will stave off the intense mucus production I’m experiencing. What could be a worst first impression than getting snot on my new attending? Yeah, don’t want that.

I’ll write more later this week. Wish me luck. I’ll need it.


Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on March 16, 2011


Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be on a short break from my blog until May! But then, I’ll be back in full force – promise.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to donate money towards the Japanese Tsunami/nuclear meltdown.

Here’s how to help Japan.

Until May and hopefully, some more sunshine,


‘Glass ceiling’ exists for women surgeons – Surprise, surprise?

Posted in Medical School (General), Uncategorized by reshmagar on February 24, 2011

‘Glass ceiling’ exists for women surgeons | Research News @ Vanderbilt | Vanderbilt University.

On its face, the statistics look good. The number of women graduating from medical schools has nearly doubled since 1979, and those moving on to become surgical residents and surgeons have nearly quadrupled since 1970.

But a closer look reveals a persistent glass ceiling for female surgeons looking to attain full professorship at medical institutions across the country. In fact, women make up less than a third of the surgeons who advance to senior ranks.

While nearly 35 percent of male surgeons earn full professorships, just more than 10 percent of women do so.

This according to new research by Colleen Brophy, professor of surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery at Vanderbilt. In a paper that will be presented this spring at the annual meeting of the Association of American Program Directors of Surgery, Brophy points to the disproportionate rate of female full professors in surgery, compared to the rate for men.

Potential causes
One common theory has it that fewer women are entering the field. But Brophy’s study suggests that other unknown variables are at play since the number of women in the surgical pipeline is, in fact, growing.

One possible variable links the role of productivity to promotion. But again, Brophy’s research shows no difference in the number of publications men and women attain throughout their careers.

In gathering her findings, Brophy pulled data through 2009 from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). She has been studying leadership in academic medicine for more than 10 years.

“How we cultivate good leaders, both male and female, is obviously critical in any industry,” said Brophy. “But if leaders in business make a mistake, they lose money, profit-share. If we surgeons make a mistake, someone can lose a limb or his life. How we lead matters,” she said.

Listening for solutions
To address surgical leadership, R. Daniel Beauchamp, chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences, meets quarterly with female surgeons. The group discusses issues relevant to career development, work-life balance, gender bias, perceptions and other issues of importance to faculty members. They also discuss how to recruit, promote and retain more female surgeons.

“Of all the leadership activities in which I am engaged, I see none more important than my involvement with our outstanding women faculty members,” Beauchamp said.

“They have made me much more aware of the issues that are most important to them, and to the unconscious bias that exists in our profession.

“Because many of the most talented medical school graduates are women and because we need to have women represented at every level of academic surgery and surgical leadership, I am committed to increasing the presence of talented women on our faculty and to the development of their careers as leaders in academic surgery,” Beauchamp said.

2010 in review

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on January 2, 2011

I woke up this morning to this email which made me ridiculously happy. Thanks everyone for reading!

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 56 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 67 posts. There were 307 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 228mb. That’s about 6 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 22nd with 88 views. The most popular post that day was Music, cheese, and chocolate..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for human rights day 2010, dr. berwick and that fabulous cuban health care, polio in haiti, safe surgery checklist, and who safe surgery checklist.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Music, cheese, and chocolate. June 2010


Safe Surgery Initiative Part 1 November 2009
1 comment


Gasp! Someone critiquing Dr. Berwick?!?! (Actually, not really…) July 2010


Preferential Treatment? August 2010


Healthcare is a right. November 2010

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on November 24, 2010

I intended to write about the reported lack of spending of Haiti’s aid donations by organizations such as the American Red Cross. But I’ll save that for another post soon.

I realized today that it has been approximately one year since I’ve started my blog. I’ve surprised myself in keeping up with it (although not consistently at times). For me, this is a big feat. I’ve never been able to keep a diary, much less an agenda planner. I did try to keep a diary though – multiple times. Every adolescent girl in the 90s got a diary. I got 3. I bought 2 more. They were all embroidered with elaborate designs although my last one had pictures of Gray’s Anatomy on it and the one before that had various galaxies. One had a lock and a key (which I misplaced…). It would always start the same. On the first page, I would neatly print my name in a font similar to this:

Don't judge me. Also, I did NOT write this.

I would then issue a warning to those who dared to open it such as “DO NOT OPEN OR ELSE.” or “OPEN AT YOUR OWN RISK” or “TRESSPASSERS WILL FACE CONSEQUENCES.” I liked writing this in red. I would then pen my first entry writing about why I was trying to keep a diary. Then every day afterwards I would write something. This lasted about 2 weeks. 4 months later with 2 of those months in which I didn’t write anything, I would make my fatal mistake of looking back on what I wrote.

It was horrible. I would find the pages littered with my insightful entries about my anger towards my parents (“My dad makes me so mad!!!! He’s can be sooo stupid sometimes. UGH!”) and my “deep” thoughts about life that make Dan Brown seem liked he should’ve won the Pulitzer. I would then rip out these horrific entries and throw them away promising to start a new better diary. And I did…and ripped out some more pages later.

I started this blog initially as a distraction. It quickly became something else. I began to read more about topics I had peripheral interests in such as global health policy, patient safety, and human rights. I began to think about what I wanted my role in such fields to be and express them through my posts. I was able to channel my frustration, sadness, and wonder through my posts – things I was afraid I would lose as I got older.

A year later and now I have a to-do list of things to write about, emails from friends with suggestions about topics, and people I haven’t heard from in years providing amazing feedback and comments on my posts. And I have yet to go back and delete a post (although sometimes I do go back and fix awkward sentences…).

This year I celebrate my first real Thanksgiving. Usually at home, we have Indian food. Once I made sweet potato fries thanks to good ole Giada (Go here for recipe) and my parents were surprised that American food could taste good. We did eat pie though during Thanksgiving…but the day after when it was half off at Publix. I’m not going home this year though but instead heading to NYC to kick it with some of my favorite people and watch balloons the size of my apartment float above me…and see crazy Kanye on a float!

I'll toast for the douchebags Kanye on Thursday...

Thanks for reading my blog so far and sticking with me. One year down, many more to go!

Have a happy happy happy Thanksgiving!

This week.

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on September 13, 2010

This week will be a special week on this blog. It will be a three part series dealing with a specific topic – the effects of outside groups implementing aid or interventions within countries. The schedule for this week will be as follows:

Monday (later today/tonight) – Foreign aid relief in Haiti and repercussions on its healthcare system

Wednesday – Ethiopia: The world’s biggest recipient of foreign aid

Friday – Sustainable interventions – Is it possible?

I decide to do this the week before an exam…

Photos of Home.

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on August 23, 2010

I just arrived from India tonight and am going to start my second year of medical school tomorrow (yikes!). Going to India from Geneva was quite the culture shock – from uber-developed to seeing my family against a background of poverty, political unstability at times, conservative traditions, and more green than buildings (if any…).

Not too many photos – most of the other ones are of me with family or taken on my family’s camera when my camera died:

I can’t sleep. Jet lag. Class tomorrow is going to be lovely.

US Media Silent on Pakistan Flooding

Posted in Uncategorized by reshmagar on August 11, 2010