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Hello! I am a PA working at the clinics of a jail in the heart of a major city in the US. My patients are predominantly African American, and many live in areas of the city with worse health outcomes than countries in Africa. Major health problems in our area include high HIV rates and other infectious diseases. I am proud to be part of a robust medical program working to get inmates into the healthcare system so that we can address their needs while they are incarcerated, and continue their care at our community clinics once released. I also wrestle with the magnitude of their stories, struggles, needs, lack of resources, and frequent level of discouragement, paired with the realities of urban poverty that face them upon release. My goal with this blog is to put to paper some of my reflections as both a provider, citizen and person of faith. For purposes of sensitivity to both my community and work place, I will keep this blog anonymous for now in case someone else stumbles across what is written here.
And as you have already seen, *full disclosure* I am not a “doc” in the sense that I am not a physician, and do not present myself as a physician to any of my patients or anyone else for that matter. I AM a “doc” in the sense that as I walk the blocks, my white coat means one thing: healthcare provider, one who is capable of making medical decisions, and therefore, all of my patients and many of my colleagues refer to EVERYONE including the multitude of midlevels that work here as “Doc,” as well, a la “Hey Doc, how you doing? Can I get some cortisone cream?” And furthermore, nothing rhymes with Physician Assistant, thus, I hope that the title “The Jailhouse Doc” is received as it was conceived, a creative play on words! Cheers.