Essential Zink and the Country Doctor Compilation

        First of all, let me reassure you.  My spell check is not down, and I ain’t gonna bore you with a treatise on the relative risk/benefit ratio of the trace element Zinc.  And no, this is not about a hot new bluegrass band, though it would be a good name.

        Nope, I spelled it right- it is Zink with a “K”, and it ain’t boring, or music related, but it is cool.  It turn out this is a Doctor Zink and I want you to know about her.

        As I cruised through my April 23-30 edition of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)  a prominent caption on page 1879 caught my eye.  “Thank Goodness for My Ass” was the title.  Now it ain’t every day you see a headline like that in JAMA, so I was intrigued.    

        It was a story about a doctor whose patient who was about to die.  The family was taking it hard.  Dr. Zink found communication difficult, but a breakthrough came when a family member realized Doc Zink was the lady who brought a minature donkey from her farm to the Christmas Pageant a few years back.  Once the family made the connection, the floodgates opened.  Dr. Zink was able to communicate more effectively and thus was “saved by her ass” because of this shared history. 

        As a country Doc, this kind of thing happens to me often.  Someone will say, “Ain’t you the Doc who wuz on T.V. playing the mandolin?”  Other times the bond is because our kids were in Scouts together, or maybe we took our animals to the vet the same day or have the same barber.  It can be one of those bridges where folks realize we are all just human beings on the same team.  As Docs, sometimes we don’t have much control over the situation either, and it worries us too. 

        There is more to the story.  As it turns out, me and Dr. Zink had some ties in this small world of medicine.  Some time back I sent her a Country Doc essay for a University Press Anthology she is editing, and she decided to use it.  (I’m gonna tell you about the Anthology below.)  I was thrilled, ’cause it meant a big University Professor had interest in what a country doc had to say.  Sometimes we feel like no one hears out our problems.

        When I read her JAMA article I realized she has the same set of pressures I do.  And for my money, any lady University Professor who has the courage to send an article with that title to JAMA (a fine organization, but a bit stuffy) and the skill to write it so well they can’t resist publication is extra good in my book. 

        I believe my readers, in particular the ladies, are gonna dig Dr. Zink.  My wife and daughter are successful women.  I like to see them get to follow their dreams, and Dr. Zink sure did it.  An article published in JAMA is no easy gig.  I’m sure her compilation will be excellent, and very insightful into the lives of health care folks.  

         So, I have passed on the info Dr. Zink forwarded to me.  Her collection comes out in 2009, and good old Dr. Bibey is one of the contributors.  I can’t wait to see what other docs and health care professionals around the country have to say.

Dr. B

        Here is her info: 

Beyond the Country Doctor: Anthology of Rural Medicine in the 21st Century.
Published by Kent State University Press and Hiram College Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities.
It is no longer the country doctor taking care of the farmers and ranchers.  Today a diverse group of clinicians have added cell phones and PDAs to their black bags and minister to a multi-colored patchwork quilt of patients. 
The book will show the breadth of rural medicine in the United States today with poems, essays, and short stories (fiction and creative nonfiction, max 5000 words) written by health professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives,
nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, mental health providers, paramedics and students of all of the above) that address the following:
–Who we are (exploring diverse providers)
–Who we serve (exploring the variety of patients)
–Where we are (sense of place)
–The resources we have and the challenges we face (i.e. tele-medicine, electronic health record, part of larger health systems, limited services, insurance, etc.)                           

Take care–

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4 Comments on “Essential Zink and the Country Doctor Compilation”

  1. mrschili Says:

    I’m learning to love my ass, too, but it’s not quite the same as what you’ve got going here.

    I was thinking about mothers and strong and successful women, and that thinking reminded me about this – I love this speech; I show it EVERY TIME I teach public speaking. Enjoy.



  2. drtombibey Says:


    This is good. I especially liked the answer where he said he created strong female characters because the stories gave people strength. What a great reason to write- to give people things to think about that make them strong, instead of things that tear people down.

    I hope I am able to do some of that.

    Dr. B

  3. Deanna White Says:

    The right creative pitch and original content is what it takes to get the attention of editors these days who review, literally, thousands of submissions. It sounds like Dr. Zink broke through the clutter not only with the editor, but also its readers. Had that article had a “run of the mill” headline in traditional JAMA style, I wonder how many would have overlooked the story? As hard as it is to get published in JAMA, it seems to me that the medical profession itself is no easy gig! I have the highest respect for those dedicate their lives to medicine. As always, looking forward your thoughtful and entertaining posts Dr. B!


  4. drtombibey Says:


    I have not met Dr. Zink yet, (I hope to someday) but I figure any lady who can be a University Professor Doctor and have a pet donkey has to be cool.

    I like the way she writes; her words just jump off the page.

    Medicine is a tough gig at times, but I reckon it beats working for a living.

    Dr. B

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