Primary Care Stories
JARI & DORA
A goal set and achieved
Jari Cortes Gadea (left) first met Family Case Manager Dora Palma when she was an 11-year-old patient in the Aquí Para Ti ("Here For You") program. In her role as parent educator, Dora meets with parents of APT patients who are mostly immigrants struggling to navigate parenting in this country. Based out of Whittier Clinic, APT provides services to Latino youth ages 10-24 years and their families with a focus on mental health, family relationships, school success, and preventing teen pregnancy and STIs. "I knew I could trust them with anything," said Jari. APT also challenges teens to make healthy choices and set goals. "The program has made me who I am," said Jari. Recently Jari achieved her goal to be employed by HCMC where she works in Patient Access Services. She one day aspires to work alongside APT staff to make a difference for others like her.
All in the Family
"I love Hennepin," says Ahmarie Her, who is the foundation of her family’s connection to our health care system. Ahmarie started working at HCMC in 1998 and today works as a medical assistant in our Brooklyn Park Clinic. Ahmarie also goes to the clinic for her own health care needs, as does her entire family, including her husband, Jonathan, and four kids – Lily, Isabelle, Marissa, and Nathaniel. She knows she and her family can expect the same level of care she sees her colleagues deliver to patients, and the same level of care she delivers to her own. “Providing an exceptional experience is what we do with everyone,” she says.
Doing What Comes Naturally
"I always knew I wanted to be a doctor," says Anna Cox, MD, a second-year resident in internal medicine. Anna is training to become an internist—a physician focused on comprehensive adult health care. What also seems to have come instinctively to Anna, besides her aspiration to be a doctor, is her patient- and family-centered manner. For Anna, partnering with patients and families has always been the natural and right thing to do, and something that also gives her immense personal satisfaction. "I like developing relationships with people and working together to achieve health goals. Only by really partnering with my patients and taking time to listen to their concerns and desired outcomes can I be sure that they will trust me and embrace my recommendations for ways to improve their health."
Learning from You
As a former junior high school teacher and the current director of the Family and Community Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Allyson Brotherson will tell you that the best physicians, like the best teachers, learn from those in their care. "Our patients have so much to teach us," she said. One of the greatest and hardest lessons she has learned is the value of taking time to understand her patients’ values and perspectives, what beliefs they have about their own health care, and what choices they want to make. She works hard to find the best way to care for patients within their parameters, not hers. "When you learn from and really listen to the patient, it makes a difference."
The Expert about Me
During a routine clinic visit in a striking reversal of traditional roles, the doctor said to Lance, "You’re the expert." He was asking Lance to participate in his own health care and offer his perspective and expertise about a subject he had become well acquainted with through the years: himself. "We need you to tell us what works and what doesn’t work for you," said the doctor, recognizing that Lance had a wealth of information and insight to share about his health. That simple but crucial invitation is part of what makes Lance a satisfied patient of HCMC. "It’s about working together,” said Lance. "You bring your own expertise and the doctor brings theirs."
Ask, don't assume.
"I don't assume. I ask." It's a motto that Physician Assistant Michelle Manos follows every day at HCMC's Be Well Clinic. Health care practitioners must be good listeners and seek first to understand the patient's perspective in order to do their jobs well. After working for years in an urgent care setting, Michelle came back to family practice so she could develop long-term relationships with patients. "I am thankful every day for the privilege to be a part of each patient's health care journey." Michelle makes a special effort to understand her patients as people: "Each patient's health is impacted by lifestyle, family values, and culture, and taking these into consideration provides for a more holistic approach." The Be Well Clinic is located in downtown Minneapolis and serves employees of participating companies in the area.
A Warm Welcome
When he walks through the doors of HCMC, Jeff Johnsen enters a place that feels comfortable, peaceful, and safe—a place that feels like home. "I consider the staff at HCMC my second family," said Jeff. This is why he chooses HCMC for his care. At HCMC, the staff treat him with dignity and respect, listen to his concerns, and are attentive to his needs. "They are always so helpful and happy."