Sarah Matathia, M.D.: Kraft Fellow working in Family Medicine at DotHouse Health
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How does a doctor or nurse become a leading doctor or nurse? A successful medical career requires a number of components, including a professional environment that fosters and encourages growth and development. Partners HealthCare aims to provide such an environment for its employees, as they represent both the current and the future health care workforce. The Kraft Center for Community Health Leadership is one way Partners is providing such an environment through its active investment in the career development of young physicians and nurses committed to community health. These mission-driven young physicians and nurses seek to improve the health and well-being of our communities.
Established in 2011 by a generous gift from the Kraft Family to Partners HealthCare, and working in close collaboration with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, the Kraft Center for Community Health Leadership anchors primary care clinicians in community health centers throughout the area, as well as strengthening their relationship to academic medicine. To date, a total of 37 participants (in either the Fellowship or Practitioner programs) have completed their training.
Sarah Matathia, M.D., is currently participating in the Kraft Fellowship as she works in the department of Family Medicine at DotHouse Health. After completing her residency in San Francisco, Sarah moved back to the east coast to be closer to family while continuing to practice family medicine. During her first year back, Sarah began working at Dorchester House and quickly affirmed her interest and commitment to community health. “Providing care for patients involves much more than a routine examination. It’s important as a provider to understand all of the factors in a person’s health, especially the social determinants of health,” says Sarah.
Dorchester House is a very busy place and provides comprehensive resources to its patients. Sarah is always working to help ensure that her patients know how to access all of the programs and social services Dorchester House has to offer. It was this goal that drove Sarah to learn about the Kraft Fellowship, as it would deepen her understanding of public health and knowledge of the community’s health priorities, develop her leadership skills, and provide the time required to carry out these commitments.
As a Kraft Fellow, Sarah is not only able to help her patients more, but also do two very important things for her own career: 1. She is able to pursue a master’s degree in public health furthering her education and 2. She is able to carve out time in her schedule to work on a project that addresses a particular need of her patients. For her project, Sarah has started a “Perinatal Collaborative” comprised of the various departments and supportive services that provide care to pregnant women and young children including Family Medicine, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, WIC, Case Management, Nutrition and Behavioral Health. Together, the group strives both to improve coordination and collaboration between the various departments as well as to come up with innovative ways of addressing commonly seen health problems such as pediatric obesity and postpartum depression.“Programs like the Kraft Fellowship are really important,” says Sarah. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to do this work; it makes my job more rewarding when I feel more of my patients’ various needs are being met.”
Sarah and her work are excellent examples of the impact programs like the Kraft Fellowship and related Kraft Practitioner programs can have on both providers and patients. “Sarah is doing fantastic work. The Kraft experience is an important one for Sarah and her peers because it provides the opportunity to understand patients’ lives beyond their immediate medical problems, so that the approach to their care and to overall health promotion are more comprehensive, says Derri Shtasel, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Kraft Center for Community Health Leadership. “Ultimately, our goal is to develop community health career paths and support this next generation of community health leaders.”
“In collaboration with the Mass. League of Community Health Centers, Partners is pleased to continue to support the Kraft Center and physicians like Sarah, as they provide vital services both to their patients and the larger community,” says Matt Fishman, Vice President for Partners Community Health. “Supporting this kind of work is vital to the health and well being of our communities and the future of our health care workforce.”