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Resident Reflections

  • Hoekelman Center Suejong Kim poster

    Suejong Kim

  • Hoekelman Center Ellen McCormack poster

    Ellen McCormack

  • Hoekelman Center Mofiyin Obadina poster

    Mofiyin Obadina

  • Hoekelman Center Soumya Sridhar poster

    Soumya Sridhar

  • Hoekelman Center Alexandra Taffany poster

    Alexandra Taffany

  • Hoekelman Center Yulia Vaishchevich poster

    Yulia Vaishchevich

Caroline Kirby, Pediatrics

Caroline Kirby

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 Cook, Pediatrics

Michelle Cook

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 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 Wheeldon, Medicine/Pediatrics

Georgia WheeldonSome 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.