By JR Chappell Unite Contributing Writer
Springfield MO— Profiles of local Health Professionals will be a regular monthly column written by JR Chappell, Health
Committee chair for the Springfield NAACP Branch. Mr Chappells is a health professional himself and is committed to the goal of inspire young African American youth to consider a career in the health care field.
Where are you from Dr. Clark?:
I was born and raised in Jacksonville Florida and went to undergraduate school at Florida State.
When did you know you wanted to be a doctor?
During a mission trip to Guyana (with an organization called Health Education Reform Guyana, HERG) I saw the great needs for medical providers. That trip was when I was a sophomore in college.
Tell us about yourself:
I have been married 5 years, we have no children but we do have a dog. Family is mostly in Florida and I have two sisters and one brother. I went to medical school at Meharry medical college in Nashville TN. Meharry is a historically black college. I did my residency in Gainesville Fl and currently work in North Springfield. North Springfield is considered a medically underserved area of town but it is quite different than my residency in Gainesville. In Gainesville the population that I worked with was 55-60% black.
In Springfield the percentage of black patients that I work with is 3-4%. What problems and challenges do you face?
As a family practice doctor I see a variety of health problems and people with multiple co-morbidities (sicknesses). These people can be very complicated to take care of. It has been rare but I have had people use racially offensive terms if they do not agree with a treatment plan.
How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I want to be the best family practice doctor in the area. I would like to be more active in the political/policy realm of medicine.
What advice do you have for our political leaders?
We need more mental health professionals, medications need to be affordable and we need more people to care for the community.