Professor of Psychiatry, University of Rochester; Director, Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization & the Susan B. Anthony Center
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy being part of teams that try to find solutions to difficult problems. Often people approach problems seeking simple solutions. In reality, people face problems within the context of social determinant of health challenges. It is not simply that a patient doesn’t show for an appointment, it is that the patient missed the appointment because of a lack of child care, transportation, and a job that is not easy to take time off from during 9-5. It is hard, but we must find creative solutions to meet those needs. COVID has allowed the opportunity for telehealth, and now the challenge is how can we offer it, when appropriate, for patients to meet the demands in their lives?
What do you see as the biggest changes in the health care industry in the next 3-5 years?
Many of my colleagues have been on the front lines fighting COVID-19 at great expense to themselves and their families. Those that don’t provide medical care have been also working hard addressing COVID’s impact on other social determinants of health. The need for mental health treatment has escalated during COVID and will likely continue to increase. We need to grow the pool of trained mental health providers, increase the diversity of mental health professionals, and deliver the care outside hospital and clinic walls where patients work and live. Employee Assistance Programs are one such example of helping people where they are.
What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?
There are so many wonderful organizations in Monroe County. It is frustrating that despite so many nonprofits, we still have some of the highest rates of child poverty and infant mortality, and have a high segregation index. Organizations in Monroe County working on these issues are many. I have been involved in the Crisis Nursery, housed at the Center for Youth, since 1999 providing care to families for emergency overnight child care — 24/7, free and no questions asked. While it took six years to open the doors, when we did, we had kids dropped off within the first week of being open. Families come to us for all kinds of reasons: parental or sibling illness, mental health challenges, or simply needing a respite from parenting. We fill the gap in care extended families used to.
What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?
Celebrating life milestones with people I love.