Participating in the Hazelden Betty Ford’s Summer Institute for Medical Students (SIMS) Program was one of the best decisions I ever made.
(Editor’s note: The Summer Institute for Medical Students program provides an inside look at the dynamics of addiction and process of healing. In this week-long educational program, students learn about addiction treatment for substance use disorders directly from clinicians, patients and families.)
As medical students, we are taught to observe and analyze each situation and create a plan accordingly. Yet during my time there, Program Director Joseph Skrajewski challenged us to step out of our roles and truly become a part of the Hazelden Betty Ford experience, one of the nation’s leading residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs.
There were breakthroughs, pain, laughter, tears and even a little drama. We talked about different obstacles that plagued us, boundaries that needed to be set, how to deal with grief and how to celebrate the victories.
They are some of the bravest people I have ever met. They chose to seek help in spite of the road before them.Jasmine Douglas
During our session with Jerry Moe, the National Director of Children’s Programs at Betty Ford, he expressed something that was instrumental during my initial steps of self-reflection. We must separate the person from the addiction—they are not one in the same. The residents at Hazelden Betty Ford are no different than me. Their issues were just visible for everyone to see. They are some of the bravest people I have ever met. They chose to seek help in spite of the road before them.
It is our duty as healthcare professionals to treat patients with the respect they deserve and encourage them every step of the way. This is a duty that I am humbled and blessed to take on while I continue to build on the teachings that I received while at Hazelden Betty Ford.
Jasmine Douglas, M.D. Candidate, Class of ‘21
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