Brutality, the word, is often associated with acts of aggression or violence.
But brutality does not necessarily have to be violent. In fact, brutality can be quite subtle – brutality can be in the bias.
A bias many who suffer from substance use dependencies find themselves facing when confronted by law enforcement. Are they suspects or patients? Are they suffering from addictions or craving as addicts?
Creating a conundrum that forms out of the lack of medical training among most law enforcement, and the underlying mental health conditions most patients with substance dependencies suffer from. That inevitably results in complex, high pressure situations that often distill into the one critical questions – in what instances should someone be treated like a patient or like a suspect?
For law enforcement, this is an incredibly difficult situation unfairly imposed upon them.
As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”
Law enforcement only recently began training to identify mental health conditions among patients and to defer traditional criminal enforcement tactics for more clinically sound, restorative approaches to justice. But the training is by no means standardized and inconsistently implemented across police departments across the country.
With the recent announcement by Attorney General Merrick Garland initiating a practice-or-pattern investigation on the Minneapolis police department, and a similar investigation on the Louisville police department, we should also consider the value of initiating an investigation to identify police practices that best address the patient-or-suspect conundrum in which many officers find themselves mired in.
Such an investigation would glean tremendous insight on the nuanced decision-making both law enforcement officers and mental health patients go through during high pressure situations, and would elucidate the subtle biases that lead certain officers to initiate medical interventions and others to initiate traditional law enforcement tactics.
Some may counter that the diverse population and varied police enforcement needs across different communities make it impossible to conduct such a study nationwide. A valid criticism – law enforcement must be locally-focused, to address specific needs unique to each community.
But we can still learn much by comparing communities, determining whether certain practices apply to other areas, or why certain practices only work in specific areas.
And develop models unique to each community that analyze police department activities and traditional crime metrics to the clinical outcomes for patients with substance use dependencies. These models would define patterns that emerge through when observing collective behaviors, among both law enforcement and mental health patients.
Patterns that can identify best practices among different police departments across different communities to improve the overall quality of law enforcement – helping police recognize that sometimes what appears to be a nail is not nail.
Vaccination rates vary by county, determined by local factors
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected certain underserved and high-risk populations, including people of color, those with underlying health conditions, and those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines for these communities can help address the disparate health effects of the virus and achieve herd immunity.
The Biden administration has identified vaccine equity as a priority, but states and local jurisdictions vary in how and the extent to which they prioritize equity. Given that vaccine roll-out in the U.S. is inherently local, understanding how vaccination rates vary at the local level is important for informing outreach efforts and addressing equity.
Earlier CDC analysis found that, as of early March, counties with high social vulnerability had lower vaccination rates than counties with low social vulnerability.
Source: Kaisesr Permanente Foundation
Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi, the first Indian physician trained in the United States
Anandibai travelled to New York from Kolkata (Calcutta) by ship, chaperoned by two female English missionary acquaintances of the Thorborns. In New York, Theodicia Carpenter received her in June 1883. Anandibai wrote to the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, asking to be admitted to their medical program, which was the second women’s medical […]