by Michael Yonas, DrPH

Over the past eight months, it has been our pleasure to work together to translate important and contemporary health and research information to the readership of the New Pittsburgh Courier, in collaboration with Community PARTners (a core service of the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute—CTSI), and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. Michael Yonas, DrPH, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, sat down with Esther Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League, to discuss this month’s topic of community health centers and doctor/patient communication.


MY: Thank you, Ms. Bush, for inspiring these eight segments and for the opportunity to meet with you monthly to talk about and share your thoughts with the readers. We’ve all learned so much from the series, “Take charge of your health today. Be informed. Be involved.”

EB: Thank you, Michael. It has been exciting to see the series come together with support from so many. These segments have highlighted how much work has to be done to address health disparities in African Americans in Allegheny County, as well some of the unique health, health care and service resources available. I know I have learned so much! The content of this last segment is critically important to addressing disparities in health—finding a health care center and a doctor that suit your needs and provide the services most beneficial to you.

MY: What are some of your thoughts after reading this segment?

EB: I am aware of the exceptional resources available to residents of Allegheny County, although not everyone has equal access to these resources. It was wonderful to learn more about health clinics in the Pittsburgh area; they provide an array of essential services and offer sliding fee payment scales, making services affordable to so many. There are many other health clinics in our area as well, and I encourage everyone to call Community PARTners for more information about such resources.

MY: The patient-centered medical home model has been receiving so much attention in the news.

EB: I know, and Dr. South-Paul’s comments were most informative. I know Dr. South-Paul well, and we have worked together on many projects. It was helpful for me to learn from her comments about how community health centers developed from the patient-centered medical home model concept and are designed to integrate the many elements of health care, including physical, behavioral, pharmacy and oral health services, in one location. For many of the communities in greatest need, this concept and access point to care are so important. I agree with Dr. South-Paul’s comment that community health centers are a fantastic, compassionate, coordinated and accessible resource to be supported to help address the health disparities we’ve highlighted over the past seven months.

MY: Thank you, Ms. Bush, for your leadership and insight and for serving as codirector of the Community PARTners core.

EB: I’m so excited to have this opportunity and am even more excited for opportunities to come. Participating and leading this unique partnership with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the New Pittsburgh Courier and CTSI have strengthened my commitment to wanting to address and help eliminate the disparities in health, wellness and safety facing African Americans in Allegheny County. I encourage people to take charge of their health, ask health care providers questions and learn more about research and consider getting involved in it. The new knowledge gained from clinical, health care and community research projects is an important part of designing and finding new ways to identify, care for and control so many of the health issues facing our community today. For more information, call Community PARTners, anytime, at 1-866-422-1575.

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