AAP speaker emphasizes importance of understanding patients’ ‘lived experience’



– Pediatricians who learn about their patients’ lived experience have the potential to encourage patients and help them overcome biases, assumptions, and barriers of opioid use disorder, Tamela Milan said at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting.

After her five children were taken into state welfare custody and she began a sixth pregnancy while struggling with opioid use disorder and as a survivor of domestic violence, Ms. Milan’s pediatrician was the one to encourage her to take steps to improve her life. She went on to regain custody of her children and complete college, and has given back by working in community health programs for over 20 years.

In a video interview, Ms. Milan said she would not have been able to overcome these barriers had it not been for the support of her pediatrician, who saw her as a person instead of a mother with opioid use disorder.

“I’ve been on both sides of the fence,” Ms. Milan said. “As someone who’s had to receive treatment and to provide it, it’s really important that we start looking at people for who they are and where they are.”

Tamela Milan has no relevant conflicts of interest.

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