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What does a doctor gain from giving back? Prevention as primary care



According to the Centers for Disease Control, 100,000 lives could be saved each year if everyone received the recommended preventive care.1  And it’s not exactly hard to understand why—as a physician you know that healthcare gets a whole lot more complicated, messy, and expensive without it.

Engaging in volunteer opportunities can be a great way to grasp the far-reaching benefits of primary care in a tangible way outside of the medical setting where you work. For example, you might consider volunteering at a local healthcare facility that delivers preventative healthcare services to vulnerable populations.

HEALTHCARE_Prevention Primary_doctor_patient_blood pressure

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons student Jana Christian did something like this during her university years when she volunteered with a mobile health clinic that delivered primary care services in low-resource Boston neighborhoods. Her volunteer experience allowed her to deepen her understanding of preventive care and even developed a passion for it.2


100,000 lives could be saved each year if everyone received the recommended preventive care.

Center for Disease Control (2017)

“Being able to counsel a client over several weeks while monitoring her elevated blood pressure or speaking to someone about small, healthy lifestyle changes he could implement into daily life was an incredibly rewarding experience,” she told the Gold Foundation.2

Likewise, Ohio family physician Thomas E. Albani Jr. opened a healthcare clinic that provides primary care services to low income adults who don’t have health insurance.3 For him, this work is rewarding and refreshing.

HEALTHCARE_Prevention Primary_elderly women_outside_retired_outside_excercising

“When you watch the impact it has on their lives and you see their faces, the tears and the hugs, it really humbles you and makes you recognize that what we do has a lot of value,” he said in Modern Medicine Network’s Medical Economics blog. “We can truly make a world of difference for people.”3

No matter the setting, volunteering in a primary care capacity gives you the chance to affect positive change in the lives of your patients and know that you’re helping them live longer, healthier lives. For many physicians, it doesn’t get any better than hearing a patient express appreciation for saving their life with a simple preventive care service.




[1] Office of the Associate Director for Policy – Prevention. (2017, May 31). Retrieved from
[2] Meet our Medical Student Bloggers. (2015, January 06). Retrieved from
[3] Campanelli, J. (2017, July 25). The benefits of physician volunteering: Page 2 of 4. Retrieved from
Header Photo Credit: De Visu /
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