This year’s National Health Center Week theme calls community health centers “the chemistry for strong communities.”
I like to think of chemistry as the ways that individual elements interact and combine in a process of transformation. That’s also a good description of the work our amazing team does at Wallace.
Each staff member brings specific gifts to their individual and varied roles. Our “elements” include welcoming and efficient reception staff, sensitive and fluent interpreters, highly skilled lab techs, and multi-talented medical and dental assistants. Our insurance enrollers, patient care coordinators, panel managers and referral specialists shine at connecting patients to key resources. Medical, dental and behavioral health care providers provide stellar whole person care. Nurses counsel and comfort. Our health information experts protect patient privacy, ensure accurate records and help us improve our services. Committed administrative staff keep the systems running that make it possible to open our doors for all who need us.
We can see the transformative results in our data, such as increasing majorities of our patients with diabetes or high blood pressure successfully managing their conditions. More kids getting their vaccinations. Growing numbers of patients using both medical and dental services, benefiting from more holistic care. Asking patients about their most urgent social needs and connecting them to resources that can help.
Comments from our patients fill in the picture in a more personal way. “They made me comfortable and took good care of me.” “First time ever I am getting good care at a place.” “I feel like I have a team now.”
If you look in a thesaurus, you’ll find a lot of synonyms for “chemistry” including “formula” “recipe” and “process”. All good words, but somehow in the case of Wallace staff, not enough. I’m privileged to work with people who combine compassion, expertise, commitment, imagination, energy, and love.
In a word, they are magic.
—Lisa A. Cline, MPH