Physician Residents Committed to Community Care | MedStar Health

Physician Residents Committed to Community Care

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Two former GME students pose for a photo in a hospital lobby.

Pictured above are Community Care Initiative mentor Mary Benjamin, MD (left) and medical resident Kaveh Rezaei Bookani, MD (right).

Graduate Medical Education Community Care Initiative

Accessing affordable health care and chronic disease management resources are barriers that many people living in the underserved communities of Baltimore face today. To help link community members to such resources, the medical residents at MedStar Harbor Hospital are learning to address social issues and health needs in community settings through MedStar Health’s Graduate Medical Education Community Care Initiative.

The initiative aims to train medical residents about the social and economic factors impacting health and health care, and how these factors affect care delivery in the communities they serve. The residents apply their learning to practice within a variety of community settings.

“We look for ways that residents can reach out and treat the people living in the communities immediately around them,” says Richard Williams, MD, residency program director at MedStar Harbor Hospital. “They are always interested in opportunities to serve the community, especially lower income populations who may not have adequate access to health care.”

Whether they are providing free healthcare services at Anne Arundel County’s Homeless Resource Day or meeting with teachers to discuss healthy eating and exercise habits for students, the medical residents in the Community Care Initiative are getting a firsthand view of the needs that exist in the communities served by MedStar Harbor Hospital.

Kaveh Rezaei Bookani, MD, a medical resident, has been committed to working with medically underserved populations since he started medical school in Iran. As part of the Community Care Initiative, he provides health services supervised by his mentor, Mary Benjamin, MD, at the Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Brooklyn, a community near the hospital.

Family Health Centers of Baltimore is a nonprofit federally qualified health center that provides primary care services at four locations in the Baltimore area, including the Cherry Hill and Brooklyn communities surrounding MedStar Harbor Hospital. Dr. Benjamin and her team provide chronic disease management services, such as counseling for smoking cessation, education about nutrition and exercise, screenings for diabetes and high cholesterol, as well as colon cancer screenings, in partnership with MedStar Harbor Hospital’s free colonoscopy program. They also provide drug addiction prevention and treatment services.

Being embedded in a community practice provides the medical residents with a better understanding of all the factors that contribute to the health of a patient, and ultimately the health of a community.

“As physicians and as part of society, we have an obligation to take care of vulnerable people and fight against disparities, discrimination and unfair distribution of health services,” says Dr. Bookani. “We are hoping that our work can promote health for all families in our community.”

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To learn more about MedStar Health's programs and initiatives across Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region that are contributing to healthier communities, contact Raquel Lamptey at 410-772-6910