NHSC Stories: Kelvin Vu, D.O.

NHSC Stories: Kelvin Vu, D.O.


KELVIN: I ALWAYS BELIEVED,
UH, SOCIAL JUSTICE HAS BEEN A BIG THING FOR ME. MY PHILOSOPHY HAS ALWAYS BEEN,
EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU
COME FROM, SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO CARE AND ACCESS TO GOOD CARE. THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
CORPS, WHAT IT STANDS FOR, IT’S PHILOSOPHY–
GO PRACTICE PRIMARY CARE IN AN UNDERSERVED AREA–
THOSE WERE THE THINGS I’VE ALWAYS FELT
PASSIONATE ABOUT DOING, EVEN BEFORE I KNEW
ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP. I WAS LUCKY THAT I WAS
A, UH, NHSC SCHOLAR. THE NATIONAL HEALTH
SERVICE CORPS PAID FOR MY WHOLE 4 YEARS
OF, UH, MEDICAL SCHOOL, AND IN RETURN, AFTER I FINISHED
MY RESIDENCY TRAINING, I WOULD GO TO WORK IN AN AREA
THAT NEEDS ME THE MOST UH, FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF YEARS THAT I RECEIVED
THE SCHOLARSHIP FOR. WATCH OUT. HUMBOLDT COUNTY IS, YOU KNOW, KNOWN FOR THE BIG,
GIANT REDWOODS. MY WIFE AND I, WE’RE
VERY OUTDOORSY PEOPLE. WE LOVE HIKING. ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF, IVOR?
YEAH. IN TERMS OF NATURAL GEOGRAPHY,
THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE. IN TERMS OF
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, HUMBOLDT COUNTY IS ACTUALLY
ONE OF THE POORER COUNTIES IN ALL OF CALIFORNIA. A VERY, VERY REMOTE PART
OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, THERE’S NOT THAT MANY
SPECIALISTS AROUND. THERE’S ACTUALLY NOT THAT MANY
PHYSICIANS AROUND. THE ORGANIZATION I WORK FOR IS THE OPEN DOOR
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER. ANYBODY THAT WALKS
THROUGH THE DOOR, THEY FEEL THEY ARE WELCOME HERE, AND THEY FEEL THAT THEIR
MEDICAL ISSUES CAN BE ADDRESSED. HI, TRINIDAD.
TRINIDAD: HELLO. KELVIN: HOW ARE YOU?
TRINIDAD: GOOD, AND YOURSELF? KELVIN: IT’S VERY, VERY
IMPORTANT THAT PATIENTS HAVE A PLACE THAT THEY CAN
CALL HOME–OR MEDICAL HOME, IN THIS CASE–AND IT’S MAINLY
FOR CONTINUITY OF CARE. WE WANT OUR PATIENTS TO FEEL
COMFORTABLE WHERE THEY GO TO A PLACE, TO A CLINIC,
WHERE THEY KNOW, “OH, THEY KNOW
MY MEDICAL HISTORY. “THEY KNOW MY SOCIAL BACKGROUND.
THEY SEE ALL OF MY KIDS. THEY SEE ALL OF
MY FAMILY MEMBERS”… YOU’RE SO CUTE
AND HEAVY, TOO. TO FEEL LIKE THEY KNOW
MY HISTORY AND, AT THE SAME TIME,
DEVELOP THAT BOND AND THAT TRUST BETWEEN YOU
AS THE PATIENT AND YOUR–YOUR DOCTOR. CAROL, GOOD SEEING YOU
AGAIN, OK? WE ARE ACTUALLY
IN A MOBILE VAN RIGHT NOW– WE CALL IT THE MOBILE
MEDICAL HOME– WHERE WE ACTUALLY BRING
MEDICAL CARE TO PATIENTS WHO HAVE TRANSPORTATION ISSUES
OR JUST CAN’T GET TO OUR OFFICE. WE’RE ABLE TO REACH
THOSE POPULATIONS WHO NORMALLY WOULD NOT
SEEK CARE ANYWHERE UNTIL THINGS GET
TOO COMPLICATED. THAT’S THE THING. I’M TRYING TO PREVENT YOU
FROM GOING TO THE HOSPITAL. WHEN YOU WALK THROUGH THE DOOR,
I COULD CARE LESS YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU DO
FOR A LIVING. I COULD CARE LESS
WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND IS. WHEN YOU’RE SITTING IN FRONT
OF ME, YOU ARE MY PATIENT, AND I AM YOUR DOCTOR,
AND IN THAT VISIT, THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS
AND WHAT I CAN DO TO ADDRESS YOUR HEALTH CARE AND MAKE YOU
HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE. SEE HOW ITS NOT
AS PAINFUL ANYMORE, RIGHT? WOMAN: YES. KELVIN: I RECENTLY FINISHED
MY, UH, NHSC “OBLIGATION.” I NEVER CONSIDER IT
AN OBLIGATION. I CONSIDER IT AN OPPORTUNITY. I FEEL LIKE I’M A PART
OF, UH, A COMMUNITY HERE WHERE I FEEL LIKE I’M ABLE
TO GIVE BACK TO THE PEOPLE AROUND ME. I’M ABLE TO APPLY EVERYTHING
THAT I’VE LEARNED IN TERMS OF MY TRAINING TO BE
A WELL-ROUNDED PHYSICIAN. I’VE BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE CARE
TO THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE IT. THEY NEED ME HERE,
AND, YOU KNOW, AS MUCH AS THEY NEED ME,
I ACTUALLY HAVE FELT LIKE IT’S, UH–
IT’S A TWO-WAY STREET HERE. UH, I FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE
ENRICHED MY EXPERIENCE NOT ONLY AS A PHYSICIAN, BUT ALSO AS A MEMBER
OF THE COMMUNITY. MY FAMILY IS ABLE TO ENJOY
ALL THE WONDERFUL SURROUNDINGS AND ALL THE RESOURCES THAT
A SMALL COMMUNITY HAS TO OFFER.

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