“Congratulations on your nomination as a White House Champion of Change for Public Health and Prevention! As a public health and prevention leader, you play a critical role in improving the health of your community… Your leadership is essential to moving our nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one that is based on wellness and prevention. Thank you for championing the improvement of health outcomes and reduction of health disparities; your efforts will have lasting effects on the health of Americans.”
– Kathleen Sebelius, scribes and sent to our very own Dr. Velandy Manohar
Happy Thursday everybody! Wow, what a crazy yet successful week it has been. Before I get into the subject of the blog, I would like to take this time to recognize everybody who participated in the start of the enrollment process of the Affordable Care Act. This past Tuesday, October 1, a large percentage of the CHC staff participated in helping and guiding those who were interested in enrolling into a medical insurance plan. Specifically, I would like to recognize Marie Yardis and her Access to Care team (Stefan K., Marianne M., Shannon B.) along with the entire AmeriCorps staff. The event ran smoothly as everyone there worked very well together. We weren’t the only ones to notice the brilliant work exemplified by Marie and her team, as she was immediately asked to join the local news station the following day to describe the success of the event. Additionally, I would like to recognize those individuals who took it upon themselves to inquire about their medical enrollment on the start of the exchange. It was a day that the staff here at the Community Health Center will never forget and I am honored to have been a part of it. If you would like to see pictures from the event, please visit our Facebook page “Community Health Center, Inc.” and take a look!
Moving on from one special moment to another, I would like to spend the rest of today’s blog recognizing a brilliant, innovative doctor that has been deservedly nominated for an award handed down by Kathleen Sebelius and the White House. Dr. Velandy Manohar is a psychiatrist who has been practicing for over 40 years, but I can promise that this man has more energy and passion for what he does then I have ever seen. If you haven’t had the pleasure to speak with him, you probably have seen him walking down Main Street wearing his baseball cap and tennis shoes complimented with his formal work attire. “Why dress shoes?” Dr. Manohar explained, “Tennis shoes are more comfortable and the more comfortable I am, the happier I become!” Dr. Manohar wasn’t kidding either, after speaking with fellow staff members from the Community Health Center, I got a really good sense that he was a very passionate, enthusiastic, optimistic individual that everyone respected throughout the organization. Therefore it went by no surprise when we learned that he was nominated for an award handed down from our Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. The Champion of Change award is given to an individual who shows exemplary leadership by helping to improve outcomes and reduce health disparities in our communities. In other words, by empowering all Americans in making healthy choices by addressing health concerns that disproportionately affect certain populations. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Dr. Manohar and get more information in regards to the work he has done. He categorized his work in relation to the award into two parts. The first part dealing with language disparities and the effects it has on the overall patient engagement while the second part was dealing more with lack of treatment and knowledge about the Veterans and the struggles they face psychologically.
The first half of his work within reducing health care disparities was by examining the language barriers providers’ face with their consumers. In the world today, patient engagement is an important concept to strive in improving as patients can simply contribute more to their health than in the past. “Engaged and empowered patients can really affect the overall outcome of their health” Dr. Manohar explains. This thought is shared widely as we are seeing more resources produced to better engage consumers. Resources like Khan Academy, OpenNotes, EKG Applications for smart phones are just a small taste of programs striving to improve patient engagement. Dr. Manohar has identified language as being a potential barrier between the provider and consumer and has made strides forward to better engage these individuals. The second half of his work, along the lines of addressing health concerns that disproportionally affect a certain population, is in conjunction with the health and safety of our veterans and specifically, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Manohar has spent endless hours successful lobbing those politicians who abuse the rights of the veterans. He has done extensive research in dealing with those soldiers with PTSD and firmly believes these individuals, along with their families, should receive the proper quality of care. In a document sent out to sent, to key leaders attending the Democratic party convention that nominated Barack Obama for the Second Term, Dr. Manohar asserts, “My friends and I are going to hold you all accountable if the [party] doesn’t include specific planks about the sacrifices and serious privations experienced by our service member’s veterans and their family members… The sacrifice of 0.45% of the population has not been appropriately recognized and in the following areas we have collectively uttered inspirational worlds and high minded phrases but have fallen seriously and dangerously, yes and perilously short in providing the top of the line since at least 2008.” As you see, Dr. Manohar doesn’t just recognize issues, but he acts upon them and that is why he is very deserving of the Champion of Change award.
I will leave you with this, “May God Bless the United States of America, May God direct his gently gaze toward our bravest and best and hold them in his loving embrace. Semper Fi.”
– Dr. Velandy Manohar