Because communication is dynamic and both parties learn from each another, I do not see the purpose of a paternalistic perspective in health care. The goal of all study and research regarding health and health behavior should, explicitly, be based on making a contribution that leads to the real improvement of health outcomes, especially as identified by patients themselves. This will be easier to accomplish when the individuals who become graduate/professional students realize the only difference between them and the research participants/patients is a fortunate set of circumstances.
Ideally, I think research and clinical practice can provide a kind of humility. When I talked to patients with gastric cancer, erosion of the esophagus, colon cancer, etc. I kept in mind that my own digestive problems suggest I am at greater risk of such outcomes. I thought, “That could be me.” I am grateful to be able to learn from the experiences of people who are enduring (hopefully, overcoming) difficulties far beyond what I have encountered.