Physicians serving the underserved

My profile for the Med School Project was on an amazing local family practitioner. Dr. Suzanne Lester is not your typical primary care provider. She’s bilingual, has tattoos and a nose piercing, and she gives her profession meaning by helping everyone, not just the people who can afford her. She’s providing medical students at the Med School Partnership with a role model unlike those you typically find in med school.

Although she now works in a private practice, that’s not initially why she came to Georgia. After finishing her residency in California, Lester moved to Athens to help fill the need for primary care physicians, but also to provide community care for vulnerable populations like non-whites and Spanish-speaking immigrants, who are abundant in Clarke County. She worked at the Athens Neighborhood Health Center for a few years and then moved to Athens Primary Care after feeling a bit too restricted by the community clinic scene. But even in private practice, she sees a lot of patients who often get the short end of the stick when it comes to health care in the US.

And now Lester has found a way to teach future doctors the importance of serving such disadvantaged groups. As a part-time instructor at the Med School Partnership, she’s able to actually show medical students what it’s like to work with all types of patients. Students get to come into her office to meet her patients, people they might never encounter otherwise. She hopes that by giving them that experience they’ll be motivated to work in community practice, or even just primary care, which is lacking in many areas around the country along with Georgia.

Check out my video and print story about Dr. Lester together here, along with my classmates’ videos about equally awesome players in the community and at the Med School.

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One Comment to “Physicians serving the underserved”

  1. Great story, Laura. Hope to see more entries soon. In the meantime, I’ve given your blog a Liebster award. See the details here: http://jargonjournalist.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/liebster-blog-award/

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