Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, and Public Health and Health Professions
My clinical practice focuses on the comprehensive care of seriously mentally ill adults, and I see patients in an integrated primary care/behavioral health clinic. I also am responsible for the hospital care of adult inpatients at Buffalo General Medical Center (BGMC). Additionally, I provide volunteer primary care for refugee and immigrant populations seeking asylum.
I conduct research projects related to psychiatry, cultural care and public health and am currently involved in several initiatives. One focuses on breast health education of refugee and immigrant women. It aims to increase knowledge about breast health and breast screening among clinical providers and refugee and immigrant women in Erie County. I am the medical director of a program that serves survivors of political and state-sponsored torture living in Western New York through an intensive case management and strength-based, client-centered model. The goals of the program are to increase self-sufficiency and to support survivors in their healing process. Additionally, I am a co-investigator on a project to increase the primary care workforce size, leadership potential, diversity and commitment to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) models of practice in underserved areas throughout the region, state and nation. The project goal is to create a PCMH training environment and curriculum that will develop faculty and offer medical students and health professional trainees multiple levels of experiential learning, equipping them to build and practice in medical homes while exposing them to vulnerable, underserved patient populations and positive role models.
I enjoy teaching, and I mentor pre-med and medical students. I also work with family medicine residents to provide complete inpatient management of adult patients at BGMC. I feel fortunate to have worked as a nurse and in the field of public health before going to medical school. Integrating my nursing, public health and physician experiences broadens my perspectives of how health care professionals affect individuals and communities through our health care system, which helps me prepare students and residents to care for patients in these complex, evolving environments.
I am keenly interested in preparing trainees to care for vulnerable populations such as those patients living in poverty, seeking asylum and/or recovering from trauma. With the help of an NIH grant, I collaborated with other professionals in the community to establish a cultural competency program at the medical school. This program aims to teach students how to care for patients from diverse cultural backgrounds with empathy and respect. The program has also improved access to preventive and primary services for refugees who have resettled in Western New York. Working on Buffalo’s Lower West Side with vulnerable and underserved populations has equipped me with a wealth of knowledge about caring for individuals from diverse cultures and from around the world—all of which I tap to train the next generation of family medicine physicians and students from other health care professions.