PHILLIP MENDOZA A doctor for health equity and familiarity with the patient
by CARLOS MATías
Dr. Phillip Mendoza sets off his practice in Anchorage with his doors open to ethnic minorities: Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, Alaska Native... In addition, he does not require these patients to come to his office, but it is he who makes the home visit, if necessary, for all kinds of medical needs: general medicine, family medicine, mental health, pediatrics, geriatrics, sexual health, prevention and treatment of addictions... And if weather conditions prevent it, or the distances are too great, he resorts to telemedicine and consults by videoconference.
Dr. Phillip Mendoza is Mexican-American, he is 41 years old, and has been living and practicing medicine in Alaska for the past five years. He also practices in Colorado, more than three thousand two hundred miles away and 54 hours by car from Anchorage. “I am licensed in both states, and I don’t want to abandon my patients in either state,” he tells Sol de Medianoche.
What makes this Hispanic doctor interesting news for the readers of our newspaper, especially for the Latino community, is his innovative way of consulting: “Since the distances are very long, I resort to telemedicine, which is the most convenient and fastest method, both for the patient and for me, this allows me to have more time to see more people when they need me. But each patient requires his or her own time, and each one must be given all the attention he or she needs, regardless of the time of dedication or the hour.”
Practicing medical equity Dr. Mendoza left his position as director of a family practice clinic to make health equity possible for ethnic minorities in Alaska and Colorado. He now also consults at Mountain View Urgent Care in Anchorage. “I consider the care of the sick above all else, and if I have to go to someone’s home, I go to them to provide my medical services in person, in their own home,” he says. Phillip Mendoza is convinced that his innovative way of consulting, taking advantage of new technologies, on the one hand, and with personalized attention and human proximity, on the other, “contributes to achieving medical equity for my patients. My fees are within the reach of their economic possibilities; the important thing is that they feel they have a doctor for the whole family they can trust.”
Personalized care Aside from his innovative Tele-Health service (possibly the only one in personalized and family medicine in the entire state of Alaska), Phillip Mendoza inspires confidence in the Latino community (“speaking the same language makes things a lot easier,” he says), but also in the African American, Asian and Alaska Native communities, “because I look for empathy with each patient. I do my job as a physician. But I also play a very personal and intimate role, sometimes as a friend, sometimes as a confidant, sometimes as a tutor, sometimes as a counselor or advisor... I do a very didactic job...” And, of course, he also sees North American patients, and European immigrants. “And why this didactic work?” we asked him: “because patients of all ages must be taught that prevention is very important to avoid later diseases. In general, the health system in the United States is reactionary nor preventative to a disease. But the important thing is to prevent the disease from ever occurring,” he replies.
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