Bilingual family physician begins at TMH Medical Clinic next week | CraigDailyPress.com

Bilingual family physician begins at TMH Medical Clinic next week

Lauren Blair





New family physician Elise Sullivan, M.D., who is set to begin at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic next week, talks with TMH board member Alman Nicodemus at Wednesday's meet-and-greet at the clinic.

Lauren Blair

— The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic's new family physician, Elise Sullivan, M.D., offers more than the average doctor. Bilingual in Spanish, with a passion for delivering babies and energy that never stops, she'll even dance her patients into better health, as she demonstrated Wednesday at the hospital's meet-and-greet for the new doctor.

Sullivan showed community members in attendance the "you quit smoking" dance, which she said she'll use as many as times as is necessary to get patients to quit smoking and stay tobacco-free.

TMH staff also are excited for the chance to offer better care and service to Spanish-speaking patients with the addition of Sullivan as well as a new, bilingual physician assistant set to begin at the clinic Oct. 13.

"I think we have a large population of patients that have not gotten services because of that language barrier," said TMH Clinic Director Terri Jourgensen, R.N.

Sullivan will begin accepting patients Tuesday and is eager to complete her orientation and dive into the practice of medicine in Craig.

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"I love family medicine and can't wait to get to know my new patients and their families," Sullivan said in a short speech Wednesday evening. "Family medicine to me is about listening to patients, getting to know their needs, educating them about their illnesses or, hopefully, just keeping people healthy."

Having grown up in Colorado, Sullivan returns to the state after completing her residency at Santa Rosa Family Medical Center and practicing medicine for four years at Sebastopol Community Health Center in California. She is a graduate of University of California Berkeley and received her medical degree from University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

Although no one in her family was in the medical field, Sullivan was drawn to it after her experience with an inner ear disorder in her late high school and early college years. The debilitating problem sent her to many different doctors looking for help, all the while supported by a single mother working three jobs and lacking health insurance.

"The good ones would listen. They would realize how much stress my mom was under," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said she particularly enjoys family medicine for the opportunity to get to know whole families, from aunts and cousins to babies and grandparents.

"I just love the wild diversity of all of it," Sullivan said.

She also especially is excited to offer care to her pregnant patients, from the start of pregnancy to birth to postnatal care.

"It's my favorite part of my job and part of the reason I came to Craig," Sullivan said. "And it's really powerful. When people are pregnant, they can make huge changes in their life. … They'll quit smoking, they'll eat better, they'll exercise. It's really unique."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.