Domhnall MacAuleyis a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.
Liveability. What a cool, trendy word that immediately paints a vibrant picture in your mind. We know instinctively what it means as it conjures up an image of a healthy environment, an active lifestyle and personal wellbeing. No surprise, therefore that its used in advertising to sell everything from domestic products to real estate. If, on the other hand, we talk about the social determinants of health, most people don’t really know what we mean and they switch off. But, liveability gives us a common language to explain how there is so much more to health than just medicine.
Serena Arora is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at McMaster University
I love puzzles.
I love looking at the picture on the box, seeing what the completed version will look like and then pouring out all the little pieces — knowing that, somehow, they all come together to create something.
In some ways, practicing medicine is like doing a puzzle. It’s complex, intersecting, and incredibly rewarding when done right. At the same time, medicine is fractured into a thousand different components. As physicians, we look at our patients and we piece them apart into organs and body systems and tissues. We rip the details we think are important from the fabric of their narrative to focus on specific complaints. We take their words and distill them into our jargon, often so much so that their original story would be unrecognizable. Medicine is often an act of reductionism.