From ATLANTA Medicine, 2013, Care for the Underserved, Vol. 84, No. 2
By Rachel Harris, M.D., M.P.H.
The categorization of indigent in the United States has been the mainstay for many Americans as they are “deficient in what is required”1 to live long, happy and prosperous lives. There are many dynamic elements which play integral roles in this ongoing game of chess, if you may, and delivery of healthcare is one piece among the set. The focus on the indigent has been a long road initially undertaken in the late 1700s – early 1800s and further refined by the 1900s. However, after over 300 years, the predicament of caring for these members of society remains a dilemma.
When one ponders who the indigent person is: a small business owner, the recently unemployed, an aspiring student, the mother of five children with a low paying job, or even a family member or neighbor, the call is overwhelming and clear. A resounding cacophony of lack of access, insufficient funds, and untrained healthcare workers to meet these needs, can be replaced by the concerto of collaborative efforts between primary care providers, specialists, medical students, volunteers, community advocates, and hospitals/clinics who all pledge to deliver the best care possible in the most humanistic form imaginable.
In the articles from distinguished faculty at the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), the passion is felt from those who care for the young pediatric patient and their families at Healthcare Without Walls: A Medical Home for Homeless Children, to the pride of accomplishment in developing community programs with neighborhood involvement by the MSM Preventive Research Center (PRC) and on to the hope in reducing and finally eliminating disparities that exist by focusing on neglected diseases and underserved populations by the Satcher Health Institute and Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center.
1 indigent. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved February 01, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/indigent
Rachel Harris, M.D., M.P.H., joined the faculty of Morehouse School of Medicine, Section of Cardiology as an Assistant Professor in July 2011 and as Staff Cardiologist at the Atlanta VA Women’s Center of Excellence East Point Outpatient Clinic in September 2012. She enjoys teaching and also serves as one of the Morehouse School of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency Associate Program Directors. Dr. Harris is Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases, Internal Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology and Echocardiography. She serves as the Echocardiography Lab Co-Director at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, GA.