Health Mentor – Season One – Episode 2 – Zal

By: Zal Press

I’m looking at 4 vibrant young faces as we gather around a rectangular formation of tables in a small, bland meeting room that I found uncomfortable and opposed to my nature. I’ve made a habit of never sitting at the proverbial “head” of the table. Not at home or away. The implication of authority contradicts my principle of equity. I didn’t change my habit for this meeting either and found the “square” didn’t work. I much prefer a circle. Easier to see faces.

In education, though, there’s always an authority. There’s judgement and punishment and there’s always some arbitrary rule whether fair or not. Education isn’t a democracy. Nowhere is that more true than in medical education. Its culture is hierarchical, severe, strict, and breeds conformity. With the exception, of course, of this Health Mentor program which is at the leading edge of change in the approach to life science education.

These inquisitive young faces peppered me with questions about my relationship with health providers. I emphasized that the most important thing that happened over a period of 32 years was the transfer and realignment of the power balance in the relationship. It wasn’t an easy transition at times, for [...] continue the story