Chair, Primary Care Coalition Board of Directors
Thank you for being part of this community. PCC does nothing in isolation, and many of you reading this partner with us in multiple ways—from providing services to making financial contributions. It’s no exaggeration to say we couldn’t do this without you.
As we draw the curtain on 2022, I’ve been thinking a lot about this community we’ve built and are building. I’m an attorney by profession, so it’s not always obvious why I’m part of the PCC to begin with, but the short answer is community.
Early in the pandemic, I experienced symptoms of a heart attack, including intense pain and numbness down my left arm. At first, I thought it might be some new version of COVID symptoms, but Dr. Google got the diagnosis right on the first try. Yet no matter how much it hurt, my vital signs all stayed stable. Great, even. Looking at me, a heart attack was not the obvious answer.
But my neighbor happens to be a doctor. Despite an EKG and oxygen saturation levels that all looked good, he believed me when I said I was in pain. He sent me to the hospital and ordered a troponin test that found the heart attack in progress and likely saved my life. Too many of our neighbors don’t have a doctor who can do that for them.
As much as we rely on science and evidence in medical decision-making, the reality is healthcare happens in community. There are all sorts of things that influence which measures we see and, ultimately, what decisions providers make. If a provider can’t truly see you, it impacts how well they can treat you.
That’s why I’m so passionate about the ways PCC creates a community of providers who can meet the complex needs patients have—their languages and customs and histories as well as individual personalities—all of which affect the process of giving and receiving care. Whether it’s meeting new immigrant families in a place they trust or addressing the challenges that are specific to a given minority community, PCC makes essential connections. In 2022 we took that strategy even further, working with community and hospital partners to meet the need for more healthcare workers by recruiting and training within our diverse local community. Because our neighbors don’t just need more healthcare workers, they need healthcare workers who can connect with them.
I can’t wait to do more of this work in 2023 and continue working with all of you to make health happen in new ways. Best wishes, warmest regards, and Happy New Year to you all! May 2023 be brighter and healthier than ever.
Want to hear more from Shawn? You're in luck because he was also a storyteller at our 30th Anniversary Show in November. Click here to see the show! Shawn's story starts at 40:35.