Change and Transformation of Society

At a recent conference I had a chance to visit Peter Catinella and saw his presentation on Evidence-Based Medicine. I came in with low expectations given the subject, but I was most impressed. Peter made some excellent points, including noting a few items that struck home such as noting that those with increased intellect can demonstrate more lofty rationalization. He noted that we try to make sense of things using data that are often limited or biased.

Peter referred to Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions regarding how scientific progress was not steady, but subject to sudden overthrow and sudden revision with long stagnant periods between. For a current example of how quickly things can change, see what the Iraq War has done to geopolitics in Asia and the Middle East in a few weeks. He went on to discuss mindfulness, reflection, critical thinking and further pertinent areas.

Now in a more reflective mode, I thought back to Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment... . This book also dealt with change through a more formal generational structure, although the variability in the generations and timing makes me lean toward other theories.

I also had a chance to read Habits of the High Tech Heart about how we have been shaped and influenced by our technology.   See also Technology: Shaping It or Shaping Us?

I enjoyed a visit by Claudette Dalton from Virginia in the past week, and she referred me to Tipping Point by    Malcomn Gladwell

I was familiar with some of this concept from The Five Generations of American Medical Revolutions by Richard Garrison. It is an easy step from this to the kind of changes we need to make in admissions to medical school to get the right ones admitted, for family medicine and for underserved practice.

More recently I was involved with the 40 Days of Purpose effort at our church. 40 Days of Purpose involves a book and program by Rick Warren. We moved from 700 people involved in small groups to 2500. What we all decide to do with this training as we move into ministry will be interesting. The needs in our community are great, particularly in the youth areas.

I was conversing yesterday with folks working at the Douglas County Youth Center. We reflected on the sad state of mental health, legal, courts, and more. We focused on K-12 education as a real and increasing problem and noted the addition of Nebraska as another state where rural schools and inner city schools were using legal means to get better support, pay for teachers, etc. Our conversation ran to the need for the community to rise to the occasion, through churches and organizations. I noted how mentors had made a difference in some of my most troubled patients. Of course some were skeptical of the church efforts, as were many of those who were transformed by the 40 Days of Purpose.

Whether you are involved with 4 days in a retreat weekend at a Cursillo, 40 days of Purpose, or months of a training program, change and transformation are possible, for individuals or society. Or perhaps better said, from individuals to society.

Family medicine is about relationships and change. We better be people that understand and facilitate change, knowledgeable about the wealth of change agents out there in religious, cultural, intellectual, and social circles.

Character: the Narrow Road - about struggles and development, encouragement for those who have failed, especially potential medical students and those in the medical field.

Character, Color, Admissions, and Physicians - some reflection on Future of Family Medicine


finally! the social service/social change suggestions by Michelle Golden

08 May 2003 05:30 UTC

John McKnight is thought-provoking--one essay, Regenerating 
Community, is very helpful, as is the rest of his book The Careless 
Society. Here's a live URL for the essay.  
-David Droge  
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