Each year, Kaiser Permanente recognizes individuals and groups, from within its own ranks, who have made extraordinary efforts to improve the health of communities. Two physicians from The Southeast Permanente Medical Group are among 15 recipients of the 2011 David Lawrence Community Service Award (DLCSA). Each will receive a $10,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente to support their community service initiatives.
Susan Reines, M.D., a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente’s Panola, Stonecrest and Conyers medical centers, is being honored for her work with one of metro Atlanta’s most vulnerable populations—child refugees. Reines is the driving force behind the Refugee Pediatric Clinic at the DeKalb County Board of Health clinic, which she helped establish after a local clinic serving child refugees closed its doors.
Many of Reines’ patients were deprived of health care in their native countries and, as a result, have neglected serious medical conditions. The Pediatric Refugee Clinic’s staff reflects the diversity of its patients and translators are available on-site. From providing transportation to and from appointments to delivering prescriptions to patients’ homes, Reines and her team go above and beyond the call of duty to care for their patients. In addition to meeting their health care needs, Reines is promoting literacy among young refugees by donating new books to her patients through the Reach Out and Read program.
James Toth, M.D., who specializes in ambulatory medicine at the Kaiser Permanente Sugar Hill-Buford Medical Center, is being honored for more than a decade of community service abroad. Long before the devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Toth was making medical mission trips to the poverty-stricken country. After realizing that many people in the rural town of Hinche could not receive health care due to the local hospital’s pre-pay policy, Toth helped establish the Whitney Clinic with his church.
Toth serves as the medical director of the year-round clinic, which provides free or low-cost primary, pediatric and dental care to thousands of Haitians. He travels to the clinic 2-3 times a year, often accompanied by other physicians he has encouraged to volunteer. From teaching parents how to feed babies born with cleft palates to treating malnourished, diabetic and hypertensive patients, Toth is committed to improving the health of the Haitian population. The clinic has established programs to address malnutrition, cholera, contaminated drinking water and homelessness.
Toth and Reines were selected from 180 DLSCA nominees in Kaiser Permanente’s eight regions. “This distinction reflects the exemplary work of Drs. Susan Reines and James Toth in the community, “ said Rob Schreiner, M.D., executive medical director of The Southeast Permanente Medical Group. “Their dedication to serving not only Kaiser Permanente members, but also underserved populations in metro Atlanta and beyond is an inspiration to us all.”