For all those pictures of clear skies, crystal clear water, emerging wildlife, we are reminded of how beautiful our planet really is, and maybe inspired to make greater efforts to preserve what we have. Climatologists have said that the year 2020 was to be a pivotal year in managing the warming of the planet. Our planet just got a gift… or maybe she took back what was hers.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Farhangui.
John Farhangui is the founder and CEO of SAMI-Aid, a U.S.-based telemedicine healthcare network. After working in management consulting, John spent eight years as an international marketing executive for several large pharmaceutical companies. In 2001, he started building his own companies, and currently owns several Medical Imaging centers in the Bay Area, a revolutionary Cancer Treatment Program, in addition to SAMI-Aid.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Growing up in the Middle East and Africa, I was able to see the distinct differences between the “haves” and “have nots” really magnified, particularly when it came to accessing to medicine. As I grew older and eventually had the opportunity to be a healthcare provider and witness those discrepancies myself. I realized that I had the unique opportunity to try and level the playing field. We created a way for anybody to access medicine efficiently and affordably, SAMI-Aid.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I just read a book recently, Sapiens, that I found to be profound in so many ways. In particular, I was interested in how the book breaks down the barriers that artificially separate people… skin color, nationality, sex, financial status, etc. I have always felt that the one fundamental right that people all over the world should have is equal access to healthcare and that no matter who we are, or where we live, that access in the 21st century should be provided, and can be.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Number 1: This is a manageable crisis. For all the negativity that we are experiencing socially, physically, and financially, it is a temporary situation, and we have the tools to manage this situation. Given the nightmare experience of the plague, or even more recently the Ebola virus, we are much better able to handle this pandemic.
Number 2: Response of Government. They care! It has been amazing to see how governments around the world have reacted quickly and concertedly. International cooperation and collaboration have allowed us to rise above politics in a shared effort to save lives
Number 3: The Medical and Scientific community. The speed at which scientists around the world are working to develop treatments, testing equipment, medical resources, and vaccine development is unprecedented. Should we have a more serious pathogenic threat (since coronavirus will not be the last), we know humankind has the resources and knowledge to rapidly respond. In 1918, the year of the Spanish flu, we as a species were at the mercy of the disease and did not have the ability to recognize, test, treat or track the spread of the disease. Today, we have the tools to make that happen.
Number 4: A better understanding of the importance of Universal Healthcare. This crisis will not go away until we find a way to treat everyone that has the disease. No matter what our position is in society, we are all potential carriers and are susceptible to the virus’ impact. We are now seeing people who are food workers, Doordash drivers, and grocery store clerks becoming infected with the virus more than other workers, and few have insurance. That affects all of us, so we need to make sure that everyone has access to a level of care, never experienced before in the United States.
Number 5: Dramatic Effect on the Environment. For all those pictures of clear skies, crystal clear water, emerging wildlife, we are reminded of how beautiful our planet really is, and maybe inspired to make greater efforts to preserve what we have. Climatologists have said that the year 2020 was to be a pivotal year in managing the warming of the planet. Our planet just got a gift… or maybe she took back what was hers.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Talk less, listen more, and seek to engage. Allowing people with severe anxiety to express themselves, will relieve stress.
- Share your own feelings of anxiety. Talking about them can sometimes help others feel like they are not alone in their fears.
- Respect other people’s anxieties (do not invalidate them) and encourage them to be pro-active about their mental health needs.
- Seek out easily accessible, affordable options for professional medical support, if needed
- Once you identify your preferred medial support, stick with it. Preventative care is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
- Speak to a trusted friend or family member
- If you have insurance, see if you have access to a mental health professional
- If not, or if it is easier, call SAMI-Aid. We offer mental health support at an affordable price.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“You were born with the ability to change someone’s life, don’t waste it,” a relevant quote by Dale Partridge. Last year, I was confronted with my own mortality: I needed a kidney transplant, or I had to face life on dialysis. I was able to travel to Iran and get a kidney and witness a spectacularly novel and resourceful way of dealing with kidney disease. It saved my life and emboldened me to propose a similar plan to the National Kidney Foundation. It is an approach to kidney care that I have considered sharing with members of the U.S. Congress, as it is by far the most practical and affordable program in the world. My life was saved by forward-thinking medicine, but hundreds of thousands more can be saved worldwide. I take this mission every day in the work I do with SAMI-Aid.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Using SAMI-Aid’s telemedicine platform to treat, test, and track the coronavirus, but then to ultimately become a public-private solution for accessible, affordable healthcare for all Americans.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Please follow our story at www.samiaid.com and watch the news for some pretty big announcements!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!