Articles, Blog

We Are Weill Cornell Medicine | Dr. Jonathan Avery

December 7, 2019

When I was young, I did some unique things
that you normally wouldn’t do at that age. I began to volunteer with hospice organizations,
with people who were thinking about the end of their lives. And I had the opportunity to film their stories. I’ve seen the power of being able to tell
their story, and knowing that their voice will be heard. For me, that changed the course of my career
– my life, really. During medical school and residency, I saw
that there was another group of individuals individuals with substance use disorders
that weren’t having the same opportunity as other people to tell their story. And I thought, “Hmm, this group is similar
in some ways to the hospice group: they feel like their voice isn’t heard.” And that’s when I started thinking, “Hey,
maybe I want to be a psychiatrist, but a psychiatrist that specializes in addiction medicine.” Through my life and through my work, I’ve
seen so many friends, family members, patients suffer with substance use disorders. I thought physicians would benefit from hearing
of people’s stories. The online videos that we created highlight
people in recovery. “You know, I’m at the right place at the
right time” Part of our goal is to make everyone aware
of their attitudes toward patients with substance use disorders, but also to help them think
about substance use in a different way: that it’s a brain disease, and not a moral failing;
and to do their best to take care of them. The amazing thing about Weill Cornell Medicine/ NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is that here we do treat every individual like an individual. I really feel like people are doing the best
they can; and they deserve our empathy and hope.

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