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Harlem Word: Interview with Dr. Richard Younge -- Success story on handling challenges

Dr. Richard 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. (http://www.nyp.org/services/acn_morgan_practice.html)

Q: Have you had a patient who successfully handled a challenge because of your work with them?

A: Sure, I have a success story that is specifically about cultural awareness. I had a patient with diabetes. I could never understand why his sugars couldn't be controlled. It turned out this particular patient and I were trying to control his sugars during the month of Ramadan. So his schedule of eating and taking his medicines was off as he was fasting during day and eating at night. Until we understood what was going on we were really talking at cross purposes in terms of scheduling his blood sugar testing and his medication schedule. And you know that lead us into other conversations about what his other dietary beliefs were. So that as I was talking with him I could really understand where he was coming from and what kinds of recommendations we could make around food that would be consistent with his cultural and religious beliefs.

Q: Other successes?

A: Every time a patient comes back and says they quit smoking I consider that a real success. How often we forget as health care providers to celebrate the successes with our patients and congratulate them on making the lifestyle changes that we recommend. It makes me think about the positives when somebody does succeed at following a recommendation like not smoking or trying to lose weight. I think it can be a real enlightening moment as my patients understand how they can be better managers of their own condition. And I think that's really a partnership with health care provider and it takes some time to build that level of trust.

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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