Monday, November 09, 2009

Hybrid Vigor, or Heterosis to you

I am extremely fond of many of our staff, but Dr. Rafael Campo is near the top of my list. He is an excellent physician . . . and poet . . . but also head our Office of Multicultural Affairs. He has written a credo for this office, and I wanted to share part of it with you. I cannot think of a better way to explain the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in a hospital setting. I also love the way he stretches the use of a term from another field, "hybrid vigor," as a metaphor for what we hope to accomplish. See what you think.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs . . . is an embodiment of BIDMC’s belief that the best possible medical community is one in which the maximum diversity and inclusiveness is found. We believe that the best research and medical care occurs in a context where differences are highly valued; that "hybrid vigor" is not just relevant but fundamental to the structure and optimal functioning of human groups. We do not advocate a sublimation of our differences, however. Our inherent tendency to cluster into our group identities is also essential to the preservation and nurturing of each of our unique cultures. Multiculturalism is the search for an appreciation of the richness gained by the co-existence and mutual respect of our differences, as well as an acknowledgment and embrace of our similarities. We feel that these values are essential to the development of outstanding physicians and the delivery of extraordinary patient care.


Anonymous said...

Very well articulated. The concept of hybrid vigor, well supported by scientific evidence, could be applied to our entire country - many people are forgetting that these days.


Lon Jones said...

Your argument acknowledges that we are complex and adaptive organisms and not the complicated machines that the accepted medical paradigm sees. But when you go there do you not have to accept that current drugs that are based on the complicated machine premise sell us all short?

How do you get patient driven health care except for subsidized (where necessary) health savings accounts?

You may enjoy our answers to these and other questions in our book, The Boids and the Bees: Guiding Adaptation to Improve our Health, Healthcare, Schools, and Society.

Keep up your good work and say hello to Herb Benson for me.