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People are Not Their Charts

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a great group of folks who are doing God’s work in Dawes, West Virginia, at the neighborhood Cabin Creek Health Center. Initially built by the United Mine Workers of America, the health center is still vibrant today.

The great medical team includes Amber Crist, Dr. Craig Robinson, Dr. Dan Doyle, Dr. Mitch Jacques, Betsy Kent, nurse practitioner John Rice, and pharmacist Jared Bailey. They provide great care and great access for West Virginia citizens who may not be able to access care elsewhere. While many patients are from the Cabin Creek area, there are some who come from as far away as Fairmont.

This clinic is also part of the Practice-Based Research Network sponsored by the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI), an entity funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Sally Hodder runs this program from WVU, and she and I had the pleasure of sitting down with the team from Cabin Creek. This network will focus on sharing best practices and will conduct studies that focus on improving the health of West Virginians. This is important stuff and a great opportunity to be a beacon for the state!

The clinic itself is impressive – modernized, with space for adults and kids, a pharmacy, as well as a space for lung rehabilitation patients.

While the medical care is remarkable, it is the personal commitment of the staff – medical, nursing, pharmacy, and office – that was the most exciting.

As we talked about our goals for the state, each person around the table agreed on the purpose of the clinic and its staff – to provide for the healthcare needs of our citizens.

This unanimous agreement was inspirational, but I was even more inspired as Amber gave me a tour of the facilities. She is a graduate of WVU, where she earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees.

As we walked around, she said the great thing about this clinic is that “we understand that our patients are more than their charts.”

They get it.

Our job at the clinic and in the state is to improve people’s lives, and the most important part of that starts with a deep sense of caring.

Many years ago, a famous physician, Francis Weld Peabody, said,

“For the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”

That statement was made in 1927, but it is being practiced at the Cabin Creek Health Center.