Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – Combating The Human Right to Health Care

Name: Johnelle' Suto
From: Enterprise, OR
Votes: 0

Human rights are freedoms that all people are entitled from birth. Human rights can not be taken away because of sex, religion, sexual orientation, race, or other factors that generally and unjustly divide our society. The established minimum standards of human rights include adequate shelter, employment/income, education, and health care. However, on a global scale, the basic human right to health care is repeatedly denied. This is a social justice issue that I am strongly passionate about combating.

            The United States, for example, is one of the most developed countries in the world, yet it lacks free healthcare for all its citizens. In fact, according to Stanford University, nearly 50 million people, mostly the employed poor and nearly poor, were uninsured for health care in 2010. When underprivileged people with serious health conditions finally seek medical attention, the care they receive is inadequate and this leads to higher morbidity and mortality rates in this population. How can we strive to be a country of freedom if we have social injustices, especially regarding our citizens’ basic human rights?

            Social justice in the health care field is also working to prevent oppressive practice; such as discrimination. There have been some cases where health care is not offered to patients based on nationality, religion, or other discriminating factors. In these situations, doctors/physicians have denied health care to patients because of prejudiced beliefs that the patient(s) is/are not able to pay for treatment, even though this goes against the Hippocratic Oath. Our country needs a foundation of health care that allows equal access to health care services for all of its’ citizens, and we need community health workers that can be advocates for social justice. Obamacare has recently been produced to help combat this issue. However, Obamacare has not answered this extensive national problem and has resulted in making health care more expensive and tedious
process for a majority of the population.

           The United Nations assembled in 1948, to create a declaration of human rights. This list included thirty rights that all humans are guaranteed from birth. Shockingly, the right to have adequate health care is not listed. One of the most important necessities, we have as humans, is not guaranteed to us. I will strive to be an advocate to speak out against this injustice. I want to use my education and knowledge to make a change in society, both locally and nationally.

Currently, I have already started advocating for a social justice issue locally in my hometown. I am currently organizing a free cancer skin screening for my senior project at my local high school. I have created a presentation to educate the student body about the importance of skin care, skin disease prevention, and the epidemic of skin cancer. Then later this winter, I have organized a free skin cancer screening that will be available to the entire county at my local high school.

Presently my community lacks adequate healthcare. I live in a rural agriculture area which lacks access to basic health care needs, especially when it comes to specialists. We do not have any resources for adequate dermatologic care. Our closest dermatologist is a three-hour car ride away in any direction. By educating my peers, I hope to enlighten and train them in the basic ABCs of skin care, to lessen their risks of potentially harmful and deadly skin diseases. This skin cancer screening, that I am organizing, will be partnered with the American Academy of Dermatology. The community will have the chance to access a skin care screening, that they would normally not have access to; free of charge and with the potential to save a life or two. A woman in my community named ShanRae Hawkins would not be here today if it wasn’t for a free skin cancer
screening that was provided to her. At her screening several years ago, she was diagnosed with early melanoma and was able to seek proper health treatment. Her screening, through the American Academy of Dermatology, saved her life.

           It only takes one person to help impact a community and combat for social justice. If accepted into the Caroline Scholars program, I will be able to make the next steps in my leadership journey. I will use my volunteer hours to help people with their medical needs. My current dream/ passion resides in the dermatology field, which is a profession that
is constantly needed especially in rural settings. Eventually, through multiple years of training, I will become a medical
professional, so I can expand my impact to help others. Through this education and the numerous volunteering opportunities that I will receive throughout college, my services as a future MD, will allow me to help all patients who lack adequate coverage; especially the poor and underprivileged portion of the population. The ability to easily visit accessible health care professionals is something that some of us privileged Americans, including myself, take for granted. It’s time that I do my part to help battle this nationwide social justice issue. It only takes one person to make a difference, and I intend to
be that person. I believe that the Caroline Scholarship program will allow me to accomplish my dream of becoming a caring, knowledgeable, medically social justice advocating individual in the near future. I want to make a difference in the world, this is only the first step in my journey ahead.

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