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Weekend Reading: ‘Here’s to Your Health’ Edition

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As Friday winds down, here are 5 interesting and relevant reads to get you through your weekend:

"Tent Revival," by Amy Woolard in VQR Online:

"For the last seventeen years, during the same late-July weekend, an organization known as Remote Area Medical, or RAM, has offered a laundry list of free dental, vision, and medical services. Over the course of three days, at the Wise County Fairgrounds, an all-volunteer staff builds a pop-up clinic—the largest RAM health clinic in the US—from the ground up, and serves more than 2,000 patients from more than fifteen different states. All told—adding up doctors, nurses, and general support staff over the weekend—the patient-to-volunteer ratio ends up at about one-to-two."

"Go Viral or Die Trying," by Luke O’Neil in Esquire:

"For a steadily increasing number of Americans, including millions who now regularly use sites like YouCaring and GoFundMe, raising billions of dollars in charitable giving, health care has in fact become about competition, but not the kind Republicans usually talk about. Instead, even under the Affordable Care Act, it’s become a competition for individuals, like so much else in our modern lives, in the marketplace of virality."

"Spotlight: Police on the front lines of mental health care," by Jenna Russell, Michael Rezendes, Maria Cramer, Scott Helman, and Todd Wallack in The Boston Globe:

"Nearly half of people killed by Massachusetts police over the last 11 years were suicidal, mentally ill, or showed clear signs of crisis, a Spotlight Team investigation shows. The deaths are the heavy human toll of an ongoing collision between sick people failed by the mental health care system and police who are often poorly equipped to help, but are thrust into this dangerous role."

"Every Body Goes Haywire," by Anna Altman in N+1:

"Pain is a message from the body to the mind that something is wrong. Headache pain, though, is opaque, and its source and its message are hard to divine. There’s no tissue damage, no trauma, no infection. A headache can alert one to something as sinister as a tumor, or it can come and go with a rainstorm. A migraine attack blurs the distinction between ‘sickness’ and ‘health.’ Headache, dizziness, nausea, trouble concentrating, fatigue, poor verbal skills—these symptoms could just as easily result from a hangover or a bad night’s sleep. That the same symptoms can result from irresponsible decisions gives patients an air of culpability."

"Peter Thiel vs. the FDA," by Julia Belluz in Vox:

"Thiel, a libertarian iconoclast, has repeatedly made the case that the FDA gets in the way of drug innovation by making it too difficult for new medicines to get to the market. Some of the FDA candidates he’s identified — including Silicon Valley’s Jim O’Neill and Balaji Srinivasan — have similarly argued that the agency should dump its requirement that drugs be proven effective before reaching the market, and that we’d be better off if the FDA operated more like a ‘Yelp for drugs.’"

Your video this week is from author and doctor Atul Gawande:

["Health" by FootMassagez is licensed under CC BY]

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