I came to medicine by way of documentary filmmaking. For me these two passions are connected by a common thread of advocacy. The draw of filmmaking was the chance to engage with storytelling as a modality for social advocacy. And the draw of medicine is that it offers the purest form of direct advocacy.
It was the College of Medicine’s commitment to underserved communities, as well as a vigor for innovation and new ideas, that made me so excited to be accepted as part of the inaugural class. My four years here have given me so many unique opportunities to contribute to the wellbeing of my fellow Washingtonians while also searching for my own métier within the house of medicine.
As I matriculated to medical school, I knew that I wanted to find a clinical niche that would allow me to serve individual patients from marginalized populations, but could also inform advocacy that was broader than the individual patient.
I care deeply about advocating for individuals, and I care deeply about working for population health equity. For me, emergency medicine was the lens I found to bring both of these into focus,” says Burtle.
The emergency department is our nation’s medical safety net, standing as a breakwater against the waves of inequity that crash down upon the most vulnerable in our society. Yet it can also serve as a vantage point, offering higher ground from which to gain new perspective on these inequities. In residency I hope to continue my progress toward becoming an excellent clinician and advocate for my patients. I also hope to explore how I might make substantive contributions to the growing field of social emergency medicine – whether through storytelling and filmmaking, FOAM (free open access medical education), community organizing, or policy work and other forms of structural change.