Doc­tor, hu­man­i­tar­ian … co­me­dian

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

At the re­cent Colorado Health Foun­da­tion Colorado Health Sym­po­sium, in be­tween telling sto­ries of lessons learned while treat­ing Florida’s poor, Dr. Pe­dro Jose “Joe” Greer Jr.—who’s been awarded a Free­dom Medal and MacArthur Foun­da­tion “ge­nius” grant—light­ened his mes­sage with quick wit and rapid-fire one-lin­ers. Here are some ex­am­ples:

“In the year 1909, Johns Hop­kins hired a gen­tle­man by the name of Abra­ham Flexner to eval­u­ate Amer­i­can med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion be­cause they thought it was get­ting too in­volved in prof­its—noth­ing like to­day.”

“I’m from Mi­ami, Fla.—you want to talk about ethics?” he asked. “Be­cause we never do down there. We can do more Medi­care fraud than any­body else.”

“I’m Cuban-Ir­ish. That means I’m from one poor, small cor­rupt Catholic is­land to an­other,” Greer said. “Mi­ami is the only nation that would take us.”

“Academia, which I love, is the first to ad­vo­cate change and the last one to do it.”

“My daugh­ter, who I’m very proud of … just grad­u­ated from Har­vard Law School and de­cided to go the route of pub­lic in­ter­est law. … So, that way, she could be as­sured that I will sup­port her for the rest of my life.”

“My daugh­ter went to Har­vard. She couldn’t go to Yale, be­cause my grand­mother doesn’t speak English well—and she would say ‘jail.’ ” He then added an aside to fel­low speaker Kelly Brownell, a Yale Univer­sity pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy, “Just kid­ding, you guys got a great foot­ball team.”

“We’re lucky enough to be physi­cians in Amer­ica. For God’s sakes, you can grad­u­ate with $300,000 in debt and they’ll still give you plat­inum Amer­i­can Ex­press.”

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