Dr. Sean Bozorgzadeh, co-founder of Supertrack Urgent Care which now provides services at the clinic, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the Circle of Care annual meeting on February 17. Here's a transcript of his introductory remarks:
We live in Bellingham with our three children. We have twins, a boy and a girl, and they’re both in grade 12, and they’re doing the running start at the Whatcom Community College. The girl is right now in New Zealand, and she is doing study abroad, and our boy (is) always on the computer playing video games. And our oldest daughter is going to school in Vancouver.
You know, I was moved by Chris’s (Cameron) introduction of this great project, and I want to tell you, it was really wonderful what you said about your mom being applied to so many people. They like to maintain their independence, they like to stay in their home, their own environment, and I’d like to say, you know, I’m going to sign up on that sheet to be a volunteer. There are so many fringe benefits, I go, wow, even if you hadn’t offered ... (laughter)
So I wanted to tell you, this is all about you. I want to be of service to you, that’s the whole spirit of the clinic on the Point, and I’d like to tell you, you have an amazing advocate in Barbara, you know. Barbara has been really amazing, she’s kind of kept me on track, she’s kept other people on track, and you know she’s always politely nudging me and others to do our job, and I really appreciate that. I think she’s a fierce advocate for Point Roberts. I also wanted to thank Deb. You know, we are blessed to have Deb, and also Virginia Lester whom I have consulted with, because my wife introduced me to Virginia and I think that Virginia has also been an amazing resource for us. So, thank you, guys.
They wanted me to give a presentation on a certain topic for you guys, and since this is the first one, I took the liberty of just choosing a topic, but from this point forward, I’d like to actually do the topics that are important to you. So just think of me as, well, we have a doc, and we’re going to basically ask him anything we want, and he’s ours, and every now and then he’s going to come here and answer all of our questions and talk about anything that we like to hear. If it’s not my area of expertise, I’ll go find out and I’ll bring you the best information that I can.
Personally, my area of expertise is in emergency medicine. I’m the Director of the Emergency department at United General in Skagit Valley. So I live in Bellingham but I commute to Skagit to work, and then we have a clinic in Bellingham. I’ve been practicing medicine for about twenty years. So it’s still a very humbling job, you know, it humbles me every day. But I have learned a lot so I can probably do a pretty good job at the kinds of questions you guys may have, about medicine anyway. So that’s my background professionally.
I believe in a strong spirit of volunteering and helping. I have done more than twenty missionary trips to other countries, I have taught medical students in northeastern Afghanistan, I have been in places where you have to use (electrodes) connected to a car battery to shock someone’s heart back into life. So I feel strongly about education. I have two areas of importance to me personally. One is education for drugs in high school and the other is the homelessness issue that we have in the state of Washington. So those are the two things that I like to give back to the community in Bellingham. But I also feel like this kind of an event is really an important thing as well for me personally. So you have my commitment in terms of coming here and talking about the things that are important to you.
By the way, any questions about who I am or my background or anything? OK.
So I want to tell you about the clinic, and then we can talk about the topic. When Barbara reached out to me, I came and saw this clinic, and geographically I kind of thought it’s really important for us to keep people independent. And as much as I love the community in Bellingham, the medical community and all the resources, I kind of feel like if you can keep everybody close to home here, that would be really an awesome thing. Because going through two borders and just the way geographically Point Roberts is situated, I feel like it’s important that we can do as much as possible here on the Point. So that is going to be the spirit of how we move forward and what kinds of decisions we make with the community in regards to the clinic. And so I think that there’s a lot of technology out there, especially telemedicine which can connect us to the mainland. And even connect us to peoples’ homes for this project of doing home health or home care here on the Point. Also that’s important, where you can have someone going to their home to check on someone and then they can connect the physician or a nurse or a Physician’s Assistant and say hey, what do you think about this? Do we have to transfer this patient into the clinic, or can we manage at home? So I think that whole concept of telemedicine is something we’d like to explore here on the Point and try to expand the services using telemedicine.
The other thing is independence when it comes to testing. Right now, the clinic doesn’t have an X-ray machine, and it’s important for us to work toward that goal of having an X-ray machine. Our lab, I think, was much better when Mr. Lester was alive and he was running it. Right now I think you should try to build that back up. And I think it’s going to take some time. But those are the kinds of things I see in the future of this clinic. And of course you have to work through the maze of legal issues, and licensing issues, and regulatory issues, but I feel like that’s where I see us moving towards. And that’s I think what the commission wants for this Hospital District, and I would imagine that’s what you guys would want. And all of that is also aligned with the Circle of Care concept of keeping people close to home.
There’s a lot of great specialists and services offered in Bellingham, if you have to tap into that, you’re going to have to cross those borders. However if we can do more here locally where you don’t have to go through those borders and go through the drive, I think that’s the way to do it.
(At this point, Dr. Sean transitioned into his presentation about vitamin D, discussing what it is, the difference between deficiency and insufficiency, why most people in northern latitudes need vitamin D supplements, the most effective form of supplement, and why and how to avoid overdose.)
Those of you who have been here a while can see that Dr. Sean’s goals for the clinic and services align almost completely with those of Ed Ayden and the Pioneer Group. Ed collected cans for years with the goal of funding a retirement home in Point Roberts so people would not have to leave to get care. The Pioneer Group was tasked with trying to make that a reality. Due to a number of constraints, we settled for a clinic supported by taxpayers. With the combination of technology and a visionary provider such as Dr. Sean, perhaps we can have something that comes close to Ed's dream. That would be as momentus for Point Roberts as the original clinic opening seventeen years ago.
At the July 2018 Hospital District meeting, Superindendent Barbara Wayland said, "I’m choosing to look upon this as an opportunity for us to re-create the clinic again into a model that meets the needs of more people in more ways." She has succeeded. The transition has been remarkably smooth, the district is being responsive to questions and concerns, urgent care patients are no longer being turned away, and Dr. Sean has a clear vision for how the clinic can serve the community better. Barbara deserves a tremendous amount of credit for making it possible.
Despite the fact that both Pat Grubb and Loise Mugar were at the meeting, here is the full and complete coverage of Dr. Sean's remarks in the March All Point Bulletin:
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