Harlem Word: Dr. Richard Younge and his ideas on healthcare and family/community medicine

Dr. Richard Younge talks about some of his ideas on healthcare and family/community medicine.

Dr. Younge is a family physician at the Herman "Denny" Farrell, Jr., Community Health Center in Washington Heights where he treats patients of all ages and backgrounds. (

Q: What are some of the changes in the healthcare profession over the past five years and how do they affect the way you practice?

A: Medicine is always changing. Certainly we've seen a lot more use of computers in medicine. We now use electronic medical records where I work. We are looking at ways to use information systems to communicate more effectively and be better at staying in touch with patients. We need to reach out to patients through the Internet, phone, and a variety of different ways.

In terms of medical practice, one of the most recent changes is genetics. We are learning more and more about how genetics interacts with the environment to promote health or to cause disease.

Q: What are some of the ways you think communities need to promote preventative care?

A: So much of what is needed in prevention may not even necessarily have to take place in a doctor's office. I think that there are a lot of things that could go on in the community to help promote better health.

If you look at the major causes of preventable death such as violence, cardio-vascular disease, and diabetes, some of these things don't require an annual checkup to be dealt with. Those are things that are actually sometimes better dealt with on a community wide basis-things like finding places for people to exercise, make sure there are places to get healthy food. I think that's one reason why primary care physicians and family care physicians like myself want to work with the health department and community-based-organizations to try to address some of the problems that promote poor health. Accidents and things that injure or kill people in their 30s and 40s or younger are a big issue. People need to be thinking about wearing seatbelts, and whether they drive when impaired.

There are also getting to be more resources or getting to be more resources on web where people can go to get more information about their health. The website provides a lot of information specific to Harlem and also has links to reliable sites that have links to things like immunization schedules and Body Mass Index calculators. I think there are growing numbers of resources on the web that people can go to get a better sense of what their disease risks are and get information about how to deal with those risks.

Read more from Dr. Younge by clicking the links below:

Harlem Word is a series of interviews with Northern Manhattan health experts, written by HHPC and reviewed by our Health Advisory Board.
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