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“When we focus on peace and justice, we cannot just focus on the end of wars and the putting down of arms,” said Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. “Establishing peace is ensuring that every condition is created to dignify human life.”
Gbowee – who spoke at the Sept. 26 Department of Medicine Grand Rounds – is an activist and social worker whose nonviolent mobilization of women in Liberia helped bring a 14-year civil war to an end in 2003. She is the founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, which focuses on education, leadership development and community engagement as key pillars of building a healthy and peaceful Liberia.
When Gbowee was pregnant with her third child and traveling to escape the violence in Liberia, she was seen by a doctor and was told she was extremely anemic. Sick and needing a blood transfusion, her doctor approached her partner to donate, but he had to refuse as he, too, was sick.
“My doctor did not say, ‘I am a doctor, so I will stay in my lane,’” Gbowee said. “Instead, he paid for my medications and increased my visitation days to ensure I was eating well because his office provided food.”
The day Gbowee gave birth, her doctor’s mother died, keeping him from the hospital. “I gave birth to a tiny 2 pound premature baby and I did not have a dime. So the hospital put me in the hallway and did not put my baby in an incubator,” she said. “After a week, my doctor came back. The staff told him I was up in the corridors with the other women who cannot afford care and he came running to me. ‘Oh my god, I have a grandbaby,’ he said. He paid my bill, gave me some extra cash and sent me home. That is peace interacting with medicine.”
In discussing privilege with the group of physicians, residents, trainees and students during the Grand Rounds, Gbowee emphasized the opportunity those in health care have to generate change and transform society.
“We all have privilege, but our privilege is a blessing, and we have to use that privilege to change the world,” she said. “There has been a lot of talk about how people have to stay in their zone. The military needs to stay in the military zone, peacemakers need to stay in the peace zone, and those in medicine need to stay in the medical zone. What people who say that don’t understand is all of this circles back to social issues and health issues. All issues are interconnected and interrelated.”
- Mar | 4 | 2021
Are Two Masks Better Than One? What You Need to Know About Ensuring the Fit and Function of Your Mask in Community Settings
While the research is clear that wearing a mask can be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus, one new question that many are asking is whether or not wearing two masks is better than one. Erica Shenoy, MD, PhD, discusses the best type of mask to wear when out and about in your community.
- Mar | 1 | 2021
Two PICU nurses awarded as DAISY Honorees for exceptional patient care
- Feb | 26 | 2021
When Boston began to take COVID-19 pandemic precautions last year, the Boston Lyric Opera had just opened a production of Bellini’s Norma. Artistic director Esther Nelson turned to a longtime friend of the organization to help them determine whether the season could go on.
- Feb | 26 | 2021
Merle Adelson and Paul Freedman had planned to marry on Friday, January 22, 2021. But instead, their nuptials took place on January 11, in a Jewish ceremony inside one of Mass General’s intensive care units.
- Feb | 26 | 2021
Employees were invited to celebrate the virtual launch of Black Excellence @ Mass General Brigham. The group provides a new affirming space for Black employees to create a community of support to encourage the welcoming, success, and advancement of Black employees at Mass General Brigham.