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Not just recovering, getting better by standing together

By Michelle Fortune

Healthcare Umbrella

Recently, one of our board members shared an article with me from The New Yorker. The article discussed Covid-19 and the American healthcare system at large. One item, in particular, from the article that stood out to me was the mention of not just collectively recovering from Covid-19 but working together to become better.

How do we emerge from a pandemic that has impacted not only our healthcare system, but also American life in so many ways? What have we learned, and how do we use that information to make ourselves stronger? It seems that our country is facing battles of epic proportion. As we work to emerge from this pandemic, we also now face a crisis regarding racism in our country. The appalling killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor have truly shaken our nation to its core. Change must occur. We, as a nation, must getter better.

We feel a genuine responsibility at St. Luke’s to be a place of healing. Our hospital plays an important role in the health and wellness of our community. Though we have been committed to addressing health inequities, we want to do more. In response to this desire to be better and in an effort to do everything in our power to increase our community impact, we have added a community health worker to our team. Additionally, we have launched a community benefit committee to determine how we can better serve ALL who need our help. Racism, bigotry, discrimination and violence have no place in our hospital or community, and we are committed to addressing health disparities in any way we can. We will listen, learn and act in the days ahead to be part of the solution. We must get better.

After listening to your feedback on how we can continue to expand to better serve you, and with the critical importance of quality, available, rural healthcare surfacing during the pandemic, our enterprise has captured the attention of two exceptional physicians who will be joining us here at St. Luke’s!

The first I would like to mention is Dr. Colin Curran, a hematologist/oncologist who will be joining us full-time at the newly named St. Luke’s Hospital Cancer & Infusion Center starting June 15. Previously, we had a physician one day per week and a midlevel provider a few days per week. This change will allow us to provide full-time, physician led care for a host of health challenges including chemotherapy, antibiotic therapy, blood transfusions and infusion treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Curran was formerly part of the Gibbs Cancer Center and is well known in the Carolinas and beyond for his compassionate and patient-centered care.

We are also excited to announce that we have secured a full-time urologist for our community. Dr. Barry Bodie will be joining us July 2 at our new urology practice, St. Luke’s Urology Associates. Dr. Bodie previously worked with Mission Medical Associates and also served as the medical director of urology for the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Cleveland Clinic trained, Dr. Bodie brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our community, and we are so excited to have urologic care here on a full-time basis. Dr. Bodie treats a wide array of urologic disorders in all age groups; from pediatric to seniors.

As we continue to focus on not just recovering but getting better, we hope you will join us by caring for your friends and neighbors, speaking out against inequities and supporting your local healthcare system here at St. Luke’s. Though the past few months have indeed been difficult, and currently, we have many uncertainties to face, we can get through this together.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” At St. Lukes, we choose to stand with those who need us, to be an advocate and voice for those facing injustice and to remain dedicated and committed to serving others. We will get better. We must!

Have a question for Michelle? Send it to Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org.

#StLukesNCStrong