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Resident Reflections

  • Terace Thomas poster

    Terace Thomas

  • Suejong Kim poster

    Suejong Kim

  • Nneka Ogbutor poster

    Nneka Ogbutor

  • Ellen McCormack poster

    Ellen McCormack

  • Derrick German poster

    Derrick German

  • Soumya Sridhar poster

    Soumya Sridhar

  • Jennifer Silverstein poster

    Jennifer Silverstein

  • Hoekelman Center Yulia Vaishchevich poster

    Yulia Vaishchevich

Dr. Guylda JohnsonGuylda Johnson, Pediatrics

As I find myself at the end of the rotation I was not disappointed. I am sad that it’s over, however, this block has given me much to contemplate. Just a few days ago, I attended a second look event where I found myself talking to future family medicine residents. They asked questions about the Rochester community, questions about resources for families, and questions about the way in which our respective programs foster community outreach and involvement. I eagerly told them about PLC and felt more equipped to answer questions about the resources available to patients and their families...PLC is a rotation I will look back on fondly as it has provided me with new perspective and a fresh outlook on the resource information that I provide to my patients.

Monica Gonzalez-LoperenaMonica Gonzalez-Loperena, Pediatrics

A patient is not simply a condition or a checkup, is a whole; is their culture, beliefs, challenges, education and surroundings…And that is exactly why this rotation is so important. Knowing the resources that are in the community available, understanding better what I am recommending to my patients, having more answers and know where to look if I don’t have them makes a big difference. These past two weeks, have made me realize that the only way to truly advocate for my patients and make a difference in their lives, is by knowing them and this is only achieved when you know the community, its history and the vision shared by the people.

David AltenEdward David Alten, Pediatrics

I saw a 211 dispatcher talk and relate to a woman who called in, worried about her son. She talked about how she tried so hard to help her son in life, but he kept getting in trouble and not listening to her and she felt so helpless. The dispatcher calmly listened and then told her that his brother was the same way, and just confirmed to her that what she was going through was very hard.

I got to see the secret room at the library, and learned a secret about the library – that homeless people depend on it for warmth during the winter.

I learned that having a place for animals in a shelter for people escaping domestic violence is actually a huge deal, and that not many shelters in this country have that capability.

In an unassuming house in the middle of a residential street, I had the privilege to play with children who were in need of child care during a crisis their parents were having.

I went to a barber shop in an area of town I would never have had reason to visit and talked to some people very different from myself – but similar nonetheless.

I saw where the children go while their parents attend court, and learned why that space is so important.

I learned that for only $11 a YEAR, children from all over can have a place to go after school, and so much more.

“I only wish I had been able to see and learn about these places and resources earlier in residency.”

Jennifer LianoJennifer Liano, Pediatrics

I am so grateful that PLC is part of our program at University of Rochester pediatrics. Often we talk about the gloom of poverty in Rochester but rarely have viable solutions to the problems that poverty brings in our patients and in our community.

Wilbert BeachyWilbert Beachy, Medicine Pediatrics

Haiku on Bus Exercise

Luxury for the lucky
I’ll wait for the doc.


Tala Altaji, PediatricsTala Altaji, Pediatrics

I have not had the chance to encounter the community like I have on my PLC rotation…Spending time at the Boys and Girls Club, Foodlink and Coffee Connections, I realized quickly that there are endless efforts across the city that aim to improve living conditions, quality of life and the futures of people in Rochester.

Quinn Watt, PediatricsQuinn Watt, Pediatrics

PLC showed me how important it is to immerse yourself in your community, your WHOLE community. It has showed me we need to go out to places we feel uncomfortable and strike up conversation with folks we may not have ever interacted with. Devon (the owner) and I discusses all sorts of topics. From conscious capitalism to the divisions Rochester as a city faces. He also described various projects he is involved with in his community.

“Everyone comes to pick all the fruits and flowers but no one wants to pull the weeds.”
Devon - Brothers and Sister Barber Shop

Caroline KirbyCaroline Kirby, Pediatrics

Throughout this rotation, my preconceived notions of Rochester were dismantled and simultaneously recreated. Being from this area, more so being from a predominantly Caucasian suburb, much of the focus of our education was on how Rochester was a progressive hub of Women’s and African American rights with vague sentiments about extensive advocacy and social justice movements. Returning here as an adult in the medical field, many of these notions had already been broken down as the transparency of how segregated Rochester is became more apparent. Furthermore, July ’64 reinforced how much of the history of Rochester was unknown to many others and myself. However, throughout this rotation I was continually impressed with the organizations, and particularly the individuals, in our community who are actively working to break down these barriers.

As demonstrated through the crisis nursery, Boys and Girls club, Genesee Charter School, CP Rochester and the endless support at the recent rallies supporting women’s rights, refugees, environmental groups and immigrant populations it is apparent that our community is one that believes in being supportive of all communities.

Given the extensive list of partners in our PLC-Pedia handbook, I became curious as to how our city compared to others in terms of volunteering and social support. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) ranked Rochester as the sixth-best metro area in the United States.

This demonstrates to me that despite our many hurdles, continued obstacles with infrastructure as well as educational segregation, this community is actively advocating for meaningful changes.

Michelle CookMichelle Cook, Pediatrics

This rotation has given me an up close and personal confirmation of the struggles of poverty. And with Rochester being one of the poorest cities in the country, the signs were everywhere. I couldn’t help feeling like what good can I do as an individual to make people’s lives better?  What I can do is like a drop in the ocean for the policies and social situations that are needed to change. Especially now as the government starts to strip away social services one at a time. Small changes are not enough. What good will eating one apple a day do? What good will one after school program do? What good will giving out a helmet do?

However, in seeing the number of programs and the devotion that so many people have to this city my outlook has shifted. People love this city and want to make it a better place, despite the overwhelming needs of the people who live here.

It is both admirable and hopeful. My contributions to help may feel small at times, but many small efforts from those in this city can add up. Things will not change tomorrow, no, but added up piece by piece I am hopeful that change can occur, and that we can make a difference despite the odds.

Caitlin-BurzynskiCaitlin Burzynski, Medical Student

Inner Dialogue

Oh boy, history of cocaine addiction, hypertension, depression, PTSD, arrest in 2010…, we’re in for a lengthy visit

Maybe this doctor will have time to actually talk to me about my problems

Should I ask how sobriety is going, she probably won’t answer honestly

I’ve been sober for 6 months, peeing in a cup still makes me flinch

First child removed from her care, can’t believe she’s pregnant again

I’m so excited about this pregnancy; it’s a blessing and my motivation to stay sober for my son and this new child

Still living in a halfway house, probably should check the exam room for bedbugs after she leaves

I couldn’t have made it this far without the support from my sisters at the house

Always gives excuses for why the job search isn’t going well

I feel like I’m drowning under the weight of staying sober while working so hard to get my life together

She doesn’t seem to get that her hypertension is such a big deal during pregnancy, how hard is it to take a medication once a day?

Did I remember to do my chores at the house before leaving? Will my judge allow me to start seeing my son on weekends again? Will my case manager actually come through with helping me get that job? Man, pregnancy really makes me have to pee…

Seems reluctant to talk about how her moods have been, really distracted, hard to engage

Maybe she’ll think that “fine” means “fine”, and not a daily rollercoaster of anxiety, sadness, and fear

Should probably probe deeper, but we’re running really short on time

Talking about my health is such a trigger, I’m itching for this to be over

I hope she trusts me, is she even listening?

I hope she trusts me, is she even listening?

Georgia WheeldonGeorgia Farrell, Medicine/Pediatrics

Some important questions that I’d like to start to ask include:

  • Where are you able to do your grocery shopping?
  • Is buying healthy food something that is financially feasible where you shop?
  • What do you use for transportation?
  • What’s your typical workday look like?
  • What do you think your biggest barriers to health are?
  • What are your health goals and how can I help you?

The questions aren’t perfected, but I think my biggest take away from PLC is that an understanding of the above issues is important to health, and that working these in to the knowledge of my patients will help in preventing and managing disease.

We can all have our goals for patients’ health, and how we think they could be most healthy, but without understanding where each individual is coming from and their own goals it will prove challenging to accomplish these goals.