By Bailey Torres
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society, lectured to a packed audience at California State University, Bakersfield on Oct 9.
His lecture was hosted by CSUB’s Kegley Institute of Ethics. As Dr. Soraya Coley, provost and vice president of academic affairs at CSUB stated, attendees left with more questions than answers in regards to health care in the United States. There could not be a better time to have Brawley here to discuss health care, added Dr. Christopher Meyers, director of the Kegley Institute at CSUB.
Brawley brought to light many salient points about health care practices and consumption in the United States. He emphasized, as Americans, we must “transform” the way we use health care. One point Brawley made was that many Americans “over-consume” health care in this country. He cited America as spending $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010. That is more than any other country, yet the United States is listed 49th in life expectancy.
Brawley hardly mentioned the highly controversial Affordable Care Act; instead, he focused on urging Americans to use “wisdom” in regards to their healthcare. He stated that many health care companies have “business plans” that affect how they treat patients. He advised against unnecessary medical radiation, and said hysterectomies and cesarean sections are among the most overused procedures in health care in the United States.
Brawley closed his lecture with the sobering point that “obesity, poor nutrition (excessive calories), and inactivity is causing a tsunami of chronic disease” in the United States. He added, poor nutrition, obesity, and inactivity are the cause of 12 cancers and will pass tobacco in the next decade if something is not done.
While in line for the book signing, Michelle Kinder, a local nurse, said she “enjoyed the lecture” and that Brawley confirmed “the importance of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants in the future of our healthcare system.” Attendee, Anthony Cortez said,“I found the lecture to be eye-opening and very educational.”