Friday, November 14, 2008
me no pop i
i absolutely loved the cartoon character popeye. he was such a galoof. he was basically a puny guy who joined the navy to make something of himself. he was gentle hearted and wouldn't hurt a fly intentionally. but he often found himself in the middle of some intrigue and shade, and needed to call upon his strength (which he found in a can of spinach) in order to set things right again. many many times, this would revolve around the his ideal or his innocence which came in the form of the highly captivating and very awkward olive oyl.
i have been co-chairing a committee which decides the categories that receive ryan white funding. this priorities process has been going on for over a decade, but i am now realizing that it is very often a dance rather than a thoughtful and vital activity. there has definitely been a shift in the urgency of services, and it has been said that ryan white grantees have become their own welfare system in a bubble.
i gather that the main reasons for the separate funding stream of ryan white are twofold. firstly, when the ryan white care act was created, the humiliation that many inflicted with the virus was at a high level, including outright rejection and isolation. and the sheer magnitude of very rapid deaths in proportion to infections was overwhelming. the second reason is that the majority of affected individuals were very pro-active in exercising their civil rights and protesting the prejudices of the system and the ineffectiveness of existing policies. here i refer to such creations as actup, the redribbon campaign, the aids quilt, and world aids day. because of the very loud and brave voices of citizens demanding their rights, many policies of the medical community, the shift in stigma of disease in general, the streamlining process of experimental drugs have all shifted to respond in their wake.
i have really come to realize all this information as a result of sitting on this committee. but it is necessary to help shift the direction of the funds and shift the process. the parameters have really changed. the urgency is not the same at all. the microcosm of ryan white care is no doubt shifting. i am not sure which direction it needs to move. i am sure i believe i needs to decrease it's enabling of people to remain stuck. it needs to start empowering people to succeed, to get into health care, and to find ways to live independently with a renewed commitment to self-management. there needs to be a shift from people treating emergency funds like their paycheck. this needs to occur amidst compassion, understanding, and belief. and i believe the committee i co-chair needs to help navigate this whole enchilada.
i wonder where i can find a can of spinach to help me with all this.
today's sound choice is an old favorite of mine by coati mundi- me no pop i by kid creole and the coconuts circa 1981