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Ripples of Change

June 14, 2024

Basilwizi Trust Chief Sinakatenge

This week our blog post is not necessarily an update on Good Sam but on the wonderful work that one of our volunteer providers conducts outside the center. About a week and a half ago, we had the incredible opportunity to sit in on a lecture by Mike Tremmel, as he discussed his book, “The People of the Great River: The Tonga Hoped the Water Would Follow Them”, written in collaboration with The River Tonga People. While Dr. Tremmel was with us for only a brief 60 minutes, he left us with an abundance of knowledge on this tribe from Zimbabwe who is simply hoping to preserve their culture, heritage, language, and more.

Mike Tremmel has been a volunteer provider for our spine clinic for several years and during the pandemic, he was also the volunteer Captain for our HelplineSOS COVID-19 hotline. As a volunteer provider, Dr. Tremmel offers specialty orthopedic care at least once a month, to our patients who most need his assistance. Within the role of volunteer Captain for HelplineSOS, Dr. Tremmel managed a group of students and volunteers, in order, to smoothly answer hundreds of calls per week. This ensured that people calling the helpline received appointments for vaccines, testing, and other resources. His work within the walls of Good Sam is always deeply appreciated by anyone who crosses paths with him.

Illustrations from the book, "The People of the Great River: The Tonga Hoped the Water Would Follow Them"

As previously mentioned, his work extends beyond the doors of Good Sam and even past the exam room. Dr. Tremmel learned of the Tonga people about 30 years ago when he went on a “mission of accompaniment” to Binga, Zimbabwe. As a goodbye to the Tonga people, he decided to write a book with the help of the community elders. This book, “The People of the Great River: The Tonga Hoped the Water Would Follow Them”, is an opportunity to provide change and preserve a language at the stake of being lost. This Friday, we encourage you to look at the great work that Dr. Tremmel has been a part of.

Visit the website here to learn more about the Tonga Literacy Project and the rich history of the Tonga People. We all know that our language is important, but have we ever considered what would happen if we lost it? This is the question that the Tonga people ask themselves daily.

Tiffany Loredo

Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Good Samaritan Health Center


Rounding Out Our Full Circle of [Mental] Health

May 31, 2024

As we wave goodbye to Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to share the arrival of a new staff member. Earlier this year Charlie A. Davidson, a PhD level psychologist, joined our team as part of our plan to expand mental health access through the Here for Good strategic plan. Along with the amazing counseling team and psychiatrists who currently work at Good Sam, Dr. Charlie joins our mental health team and brings a new set of skills that will shape the future of care for our patients. This addition to the Good Sam family will not only help our patients better understand their mental health needs, but it will pave new roads for care given to them by their primary care provider(s). Here are a couple of things you should know about him.

How would you describe yourself and your professional background in brief?

My main job is Dad. I have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old and have been together with my wife for 20 years. My free time is spent playing the bass, playing ultimate frisbee, and cooking. Recently, I've started to pick up jogging and swimming. I started my career in psychiatric neuroscience and then attended graduate school in clinical psychology and became more interested in therapy, psychosis, and SMI (serious mental illness). I'm a practitioner in evidence-based practices and psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery. I completed two post-doctoral fellowships and then became licensed in Connecticut. I then moved back to Atlanta, where I am originally from, and became licensed here. I have my own private practice, taught in a graduate program, and have worked in two digital companies. Good Sam is the first job that I’ve had in integrated primary care. It’s very exciting to work here because I have the opportunity to work with really talented people in allied health professions.

What is your current role at Good Sam? What are you hoping to bring to Good Sam?

My current title at Good Sam is Psychologist. Although Good Sam does offer counseling and psychiatric services, no psychological program has been offered that works directly with primary care in evaluation. In this role, I'm hoping to provide more diagnostic evaluations and create group and other therapy options. I'm hoping to work with the clinical team to track behavior health and fully implement the Full Circle of Health model that is offered.

Why did you choose to join Good Sam? What stood out to you about Good Sam?

I was lucky! I had started subletting in a new private practice office and it just so happened that Dr. Boswell and Dr. Mintz, two of Good Sam’s psychiatrists, were also in this suite. They shared the work of Good Sam and told me about the patient population that is served. One detail that really stood out is the fact that Good Sam aims to provide care to those who are uninsured or unhoused. Working at Good Sam means that I get to work with motivated patients who have challenges but are trying to get their lives where they want to be. Being that my role is new to Good Sam, it means that I have the opportunity to shape new services. I like having the ability to shape new things.

How do you think you will make an impact on those we serve here at Good Sam?

I think I will be impacting the lives of our patients similarly to how the current counseling and psychiatric team is doing. I'll be adding skills in a few areas of evaluation, behavioral, and holistic approaches, and I hope to bring new types of services to our team. All of this put together will help people get better faster.

What would you say to someone who needs mental health counseling or help, but is struggling to reach out?

This is hard to answer because the reason for the struggle to reach out is different for everyone. The main reason I’ve noticed why people have stopped themselves from getting help is because they feel that speaking about or accepting treatment means that there is something wrong with them. This is not true. This is not how it works. Most people believe that they should be normal but normal doesn’t exist. Most people throughout their lives will face moments and challenges that they will need help with. They might receive help from their friends or family and some will seek help elsewhere. Seeking help shows that you are healthy. It means that you want to do things in the best way possible. There is no shame at all in seeking help.

This was just a brief introduction to Dr. Charlie and his work. We are happy to have him join us at Good Sam and look forward to seeing our mental health department grow and provide a more well-rounded approach to healthcare. It’s truly a blessing to be able to offer these new specialized services and expanded access to our patients. We look forward to seeing all the great work and outcomes these services will bring to the Good Sam Family.

Tiffany Loredo

Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Good Samaritan Health Center


To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required

May 17, 2024

May is a very important month for many. We celebrate Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and children, siblings, and grandchildren graduating from kindergarten, high school, or college. At Good Sam, this May we celebrate the very special birthday of our Founder and CEO, Dr. William Warren. While Good Sam celebrated its 25th year in 2023, this God-given dream to provide healthcare to those who need it has been around for a bit longer. Read along as his children Mary Elizabeth, William, and Cole give us their testimony of God’s work through the hands of Dr. Warren.

" At the tender age of 12, I remember sitting at our dinner table when my dad, Dr. Bill Warren, told me about his plans to leave his prestigious private practice (which felt like family) to serve as a doctor in the inner city.  Most people he informed of his plans thought he had lost his mind, including ME!  I loved that my Daddy was a well-respected, kind, and excellent pediatrician. I appreciated the feeling of stability this brought to my life.  So many questions popped into my mind as he relayed the news, and he and our wonderful mom patiently answered them all. I was young (and largely clueless) and simply felt fearful not knowing what this monumental change would mean for MY life. However, as my dad pursued this calling from the Lord with the support of my mom, my admiration of my parents only grew. It became increasingly clear what this shift would mean for SO many lives, well beyond my own.

You’ve likely heard the adage from St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”  This is our father to the tee. Both at home, in coaching our sports teams, teaching our Sunday School classes, or giving me a steady stream of Coca-Cola so as not to pass out while fishing under the hot Cumberland sun, and also at the Good Samaritan where he has faithfully brought quality healthcare to the underserved or overlooked for almost 26 years and counting, my Dad has quietly and faithfully lived out the many verses he always impressed upon our ears and hearts: “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48),  “Whatever you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me” (Matthew 25:40),  and “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). On his 70th birthday, my brothers and I want to say we love you, respect you, and can only hope you’ve rubbed off on us a bit! "

 ~ Mary Elizabeth Warren Stone

"In first grade, my Bible teacher asked the class if we knew anyone who loved God. I raised my hand and said, “my dad”. The teacher then asked, how do you know he loves God? I simply replied that every morning while eating my breakfast and getting ready for school, I would notice my dad spending time in his office reading his Bible and kneeling at his chair in prayer. While his morning robes were short and tacky, I was shown from an early age how much my dad loved God.

I don’t think anything in these 25+ years at Good Sam would have happened if my Dad, and those employed by Good Sam, didn’t love God first. Joshua 1:9 says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.” It is not easy to pursue God. And it is not always easy to love Him. But, I think what my Dad’s story has shown me is that sometimes loving God starts with action and joining in his mission.

At an early age, I found it hard at times to trust in God and I remember my parents telling me to “coast on their faith” … and give it time. My dad’s faith has always been one of action and less of words. At 6 years old I remember him selling his sports car and switching to a super cool green minivan. I also remember at a young age watching him talk with care and intentionality to patients in need when he was on call late at night or on the weekends. I also have fond memories of walking the rough-in stage of the new Good Samaritan Center. He explained with excitement and detail that there would be a teaching kitchen, an urban farm, and a beautiful state-of-the-art dental wing all for this local community. This was incredible to watch as a little boy.

A verse in Matthew states - “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” There is no doubt that my Dad’s biggest desire is to love God. But I believe that started with him giving up resources, time, and mental energy towards God’s calling. He developed a love for God by loving God’s mission and God’s people. For that, I am beyond grateful for the example he has shown me, and how as a little boy I could “coast on his faith” and begin to build my relationship and love for God. "

~ Cole Warren

You don’t have to have grown up in the love and instruction of Dr. Warren in order to have beautiful memories like these of him and his service. He demonstrates the love of God in his interactions with all: staff, friends, and patients alike. We are thankful to have had this special opportunity to get an even better glimpse into the life of the Warren family and for Mary Elizabeth, William, and Cole for providing this opportunity.

We, your Good Sam Family, have a celebratory message to share with you: Happy Birthday, Dr. Warren! Good Sam would not be here without you and we would not be stewards of His love in the ways that Good Sam allows us to be. We are blessed to work with and around you and we wish you nothing but the best as you grow another year wiser!

Tiffany Loredo

Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Good Samaritan Health Center


More Than Just A Month of Awareness

May 3, 2024

Why Is Mental Health Awareness Important?

Mental Health Awareness Month is one of many opportunities to discuss mental illness and its prevalence, as well as learn how we can support those experiencing mental health challenges.

What is mental illness?

In order to fully appreciate the benefits of mental health, let’s first take a look at aspects of mental illness.  According to the American Psychological Association, a mental disorder, or mental illness, is any condition characterized by cognitive and emotional disturbances, abnormal behaviors, impaired functioning, or any combination of these.1

Two of the most widely reported mental illnesses are anxiety and depression.

Anxiety is defined as an intense, persistent, or excessive worry or dread about everyday situations that interfere with daily living, are difficult to control, and are out of proportion to the actual danger.2

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which affects how you feel, think, and behave.3

Many people are suffering in silence largely due to an inability to afford healthcare, as well as the stigma associated with getting therapy.  Many turn to the use of substances like drugs and alcohol to cope, and of those, several contemplate suicide or have succeeded in following through.

Here are some sobering statistics on the rates and prevalence of mental illness in our country4:

21% of adults, over 50 million people, are experiencing a mental illness

55% of adults, over 28 million people, receive no treatment

16% of youth, more than 2.7 million, are experiencing severe major depression

60% of youth with major depression do not receive treatment

15% of adults had a substance use disorder in the last year, 93% received no treatment

4.8% of adults, 12.1 million people, reported serious thoughts of suicide

11% of adults with a mental illness, over 5.5 million, are not insured

What is mental health?

The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.5

The staggering statistics above reveal many of us are living day to day mentally unwell. Mental health awareness becomes crucial then to shine a light on this national problem that affects so many people, robbing them of the ability to feel whole and be effective members of their families, communities, and society.  You likely know someone who is struggling with mental illness or may have experienced it firsthand at one point making it a personal cause to uphold. Each one of us has a responsibility to engage in and support the awareness of mental health.

What can you do to help?

Do your research –

  • Search trusted sites like the American Psychological Association, CDC, or the National Institute of Mental Health to learn more about mental health disorders and their symptoms so that you may be able to detect the signs in the people around you.

Normalize discussions about mental health to help destigmatize treatment/therapy –

  • Take every opportunity, not only in May, to check on the mental well-being of those you care about. Ask your friends and family how they are doing if something about them seems off, take the time to listen without judgment, and seek to understand. Encourage your loved ones to seek treatment if needed.
  • Participate in discussions about mental health via forums on social media, at your school, or in community settings.

Vote –

During elections, vote yes pertaining to matters that support mental health awareness and funding to help increase accessibility of treatment.

Novell Blain, LPC

Counselor 
Good Samaritan Health Center

 

1https://dictionary.apa.org/mental-disorder
2www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders
3https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
4https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america
5https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

Elevating The Golden Years Through Exercise and Nutrition

April 19, 2024

The health and wellness of seniors is a top priority for me, which is why I've developed a program specifically tailored to this demographic. Inspired by my active grandparents in their 80s, I aim to motivate and empower all seniors to stay active and healthy. This comprehensive program focuses on fitness, offering a variety of activities including resistance training, weight training, restorative yoga practices, and breathwork for recovery. In addition, our nutrition component is dedicated to educating seniors on proper dietary habits for their age group, with a focus on introducing budget-friendly plant-based meal alternatives.

The success of this program is measured by its metrics. We conducted weekly weigh-ins and observed positive weight loss results among participants. Surveys provided us with valuable feedback and insights into the program's progress from our participants. We discovered that the program provided valuable social interaction for those unable to leave their senior homes, increased knowledge of budget-friendly healthy meal options, and introduced easy-to-follow at-home workouts. Continue reading for some quick comments from participants of the program on their last day.

“The program is helping me to get healthier. Teaching me to work out more and we all love it! Don’t stop the program, keep it going! I've been here from the start. It has impacted my life because I've learned to eat healthier, and I’ve lost weight. My favorite part was doing the exercise and meeting new people. I love Coach Carter and Audrey. Throughout this class, I learned how to get up and exercise and how to do it at home.” - Participant 1

“I’ve been in this program for 4 weeks. This class has impacted my life by giving me more energy to get up and exercise. The workouts with music were my favorite part. The nutrition class is also very good. I've learned to incorporate a vegetarian diet into my normal diet and also that you have to put effort into working out, even if it's just for 20 minutes. I appreciate everyone, for pushing us and        making us feel better.”  - Participant 2

“I'm going to miss them, it's been very nice. I've been here for a while. This class has impacted me for the better. It helped me figure out how to work out because I had stopped working out. I didn’t have a favorite part of the program because I enjoyed it all. Everyone was very nice!” - Participant 3

“I’ve been a part of this program for two months now. It's impacted me a lot. It has helped me move better and helped me figure out how to work out. Working out with Audrey and getting information on how to better care for my joints has been my favorite. The nutrition class has helped me learn more new foods, like how avocados can help my joints and mushrooms as a vegetarian option for meatless tacos. I liked the nutritional information they gave. I think the program is good and Coach pushes us a lot more and it’s a good motivational program. I wish they offered the class more days throughout the week like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”  – Participant 4

 

 

Audrey Clark

Community Outreach and Market Manager  
Good Samaritan Health Center


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