This has been a time of transitions. New baby new home new job. New possibilities for life.
New take on how to support life.
After eight years with the Chicago Family Health Center and teaching students at University of Chicago, my first roles as a physician out of residency, I took on a new challenge with the new year. A few new challenges.
First there is the mothering challenge, of joy with conception and delivery and relief when the newborn learned to latch, and my body successfully grew and sustained life. To be a mother is to be one who feeds, I have learned. And one who loves, and celebrates every in and out of the growth and development of this little life grunting in his sleep next to me.
Then there is the doctoring challenge, with gratitude for the teamwork that makes good care possible. I miss my old patients and the incredible team that cared for them at CFHC. I cherish the new team we are building at the Harken Health South Loop Center, and the lessons we are learning on how to transform healthcare, one relationship at a time. The team rocks. Imperfect but perfectible, we are establishing new systems to care for patients to motivate for the behavior changes that bring health. Setting up systems of caring for health.
System. Care. Health. Turning the healthcare system on its head!
At work, we have been defining the Harken Health model, brand new, a new partnership of clinical care and insurance, a bold rethinking of what insurance is and who it serves. We’re trying to make the Affordable Care Act work, in reality, for the people who buy insurance on the exchange, and for the insurance companies who sell it, and for the clinical teams that provide care.
At the community health center, we were so close to realizing the dream of the ACA. We just had too many patients for the number of providers (and appointments) we had, and it was breaking the system by breaking the doctors, burning out care teams too fast.
At the Harken Health Center, we still face many of the same challenges, but now we have a commitment to caring for ourselves while we care for others. If health care in America is an airplane flying over the Atlantic, oxygen masks have dropped, and here at Harken there is a pilot’s voice saying “we’ve got this. everything will be okay. pull together” reminding us to place the oxygen masks on ourselves before we try to place them on our patients.
We’ve got this.
The baby’s got this–a good night’s sleep, well on its way. A full belly, a diaper that was clean when he went down, a warm bed, a momma who loves him.
You’ve got this–whatever goal you’ve set yourself, whatever behavior or system you’re committed to change, you got this.
I’ve got this. Mamahood, doctorhood. Work and home. New life in the new year.