Stories of Resistance in Primary Care

School of Nursing

On May 16, the Primary Care Progress chapter at UCSF with sponsorship from the Associated Students of the School of Nursing (ASSN) and San Francisco Health Plan (SFHP), hosted Social Histories, a storytelling slam event that invited Bay Area providers and community members to share stories from primary care around the theme “resistance.”

The goal for the biannual event held at the Alumni House was to generate interest and excitement about primary care from people who are directly involved in the effort.

The first half of the event, which was moderated by Dr. Joseph Pace of Tom Waddell Urban Health Clinic, featured three stirring stories. Dr. Connor, an intern in Family & Community Medicine at UCSF/ZSFG, spoke about his involvement with the Frisco 5 and the role providers can play in active resistance.

“Tiny” Gray-Garcia, a formerly unhoused, incarcerated poverty scholar and cofounder of POOR Magazine gave a powerful spoken word performance on her experience as an impoverished mother and patient.

Dr. Bill Shore, an emeritus professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine, shared the story of an "impossible" patient of his who had fought back and resisted the unfair housing authorities that threatened to evict her family from their home.

Alexa Madrid, a consumer advisory panel member representative for Tenderloin Health Services, spoke about her experience rolling with resistance as a transwoman subconsciously resisting who she was.

Dr. Tonya Chaffee, the Medical Director of the Child & Adolescent Support, Advocacy & Resource Center and Director of the Teeth & Young Adult Health Center at ZSFG, reminded the audience of the importance of cultural humility and consciousness about the biases we bring into patient care.

Social Histories was attended by over 80 people including UCSF medical and nursing students, community members, and providers. Attendees were encouraged to write what "resistance is" to them on sticky notes placed around a banner that were then read out by Dr. Pace throughout the night.

Alexandra Rutherford, a MEPN nursing student on the adult-gerontology track said, "It was uplifting, and a good reminder of why we're here."

The evening concluded with a rallying call to remember the importance of 'resistance,' however one chooses to define it, as we continue on in healthcare as patients and providers.