Entrevista a Mark Ryan @RichmondDoc

Buscando conocer un poco más a los diferentes integrantes de la comunidad de #hcsmla he decidido realizar algunas entrevistas para compartir con todos.

En esta oportunidad he invitado al Mark Ryan, MD, mas conocido por nosotros como @RichmondDoc. Aquí les dejo la entrevista, espero la disfruten.

VJ: Hello Mark, Thanks for your time, it´s a pleasure having you as part of the #hcsmla community.

Can you please tell us about your specialty, what is it that you do?

MR: I am a family physician, which developed out of general practice. Family physicians are specialists trained to provide care for all types of patients: children, adults, elderly, women, etc.  We are also trained to provide care for many different conditions: chronic illnesses, acute illnesses, preventive care, etc.  In order to be board-certified in family medicine, one must finish medical school, complete a 3-year residency, and pass a national board exam.

I graduate medical school in 2000 and finished residency in 2003.  I worked for four years in a small town in southern Virginia, and in 2007 returned to Richmond, Virginia to join Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems.  Currently, I spend 2 1/2 days working at an outpatient clinic in south Richmond, where I provide pediatric care to a community that is nearly 90% Spanish-speaking, 2 days working in the Department of Family Medicine faculty practice, where most of my patients are uninsured, and 1/2 day teaching students at free clinic in Richmond.  I also teach medical students in clinical settings.

VJ: I know you work with patients and communities outside the USA, can you tell us about that?

MR: My first international medical trip was in 2003, when I joined a team working in Honduras.  Since then, I have been back to Honduras once, to Nicaragua once, and am the medical director for an ongoing project in the Dominican Republic. Through this project, we provide medical care and assist community-development efforts in a marginalized barrio just outside of Santo Domingo. We travel there twice a year, and are working to enhance our connections with local medical providers in order to provide better care for chronic illnesses. I have been to the Dominican Republic 9 times since 2005, and will be returning there in June with a team of medical and pharmacy students. If interested, you can see more information about the project at www.DominicanAidSociety.com.

VJ: You are a hcsm enthusiast, how do you think these tools can help change the way health systems work?

MR: There are many different ways in which I can see HCSM help improve health care and health care systems.  By encouraging bilateral communication between patients and physicians/public health/health care systems, you encourage patients to become more empowered and more in control of their own health care.  HCSM tools also allow communication to be disseminated rapidly among dispersed audiences, ensuring that necessary information reaches the intended audience in a timely manner. The fact that these tools can work through SMS means that patients do need to have to have constant internet access or expensive smart phones.

The major limit at this point at this time is the ability to communicate private information back and forth.  HCSM would be an appropriate method to provide general information and answer general questions, but would not be appropriate for providing specific medical advice.  However, as secure patient portals develop (or as secure SMS technology improves), then I think the tools will be in place to be able to provide direct medical advice/care.

VJ: What would you like to share about your experience with #hcsm and #hcsmla?

MR: I have been actively involved with #hcsm for around 1 1/2 years, and #hcsmla for the last month or so.  I have found the discussions smart, engaging and thoughtful; often complicated and occasionally really challenging.  I have made some very real real-world friends through these conversations, and feel as though I have many friends around the US–and now in the other parts of the world–that I just haven’t met in person yet.

I have also made meaningful connections through the chats.  I co-write a blog (smhcop.wordpress.com) with two #hcsm participants I have never met in person–we know each other through Twitter, e-mails, and a couple of phone calls.  I also have 2 professional conference presentations coming up in the next few months with another #hcsm participant I only know via Twitter and e-mail.  I feel that the #hcsm and #hcsmla conversations allow one to get to know the participants so well that professional collaborations can result.

VJ: Can you give some advice to the #hcsmla community?

MR: My main advice is to keep doing what you’re doing.  Continue coming up with good discussion topics, and continue to engage new people in the discussions.  Participants should let colleagues and friends know about the discussion, and that the discussion is not limited only to health professionals.  The strength of the discussions is in including opinions from many different backgrounds, and the broader the audience and discussion, the better.

VJ: Is there any thing else you would like to share with us?

MR: Having lived 4 years in Caracas, Venezuela and 4 years in Argentina as a child, I feel that in some way I’m reconnecting with the places I grew up.  The only problem: now I’d like to go back to visit, but don’t have the time!

VJ: Gracias por tu tiempo, Mark! And who knows, maybe we can figure out a way for you to come using #hcsmla as the excuse 😉


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