National Doctor’s Day honors the work of doctors across the United States. In celebration of Doctor’s Day 2011, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the newest pediatrician to join the Children’s Health Fund (CHF) community, Dr. Elliott Attisha from the Children’s Health Project of Detroit.
Dr. Attisha grew up in the metro Detroit area and has been working as a pediatrician in the Motor City for the past 10 years. I haven’t met Elliott in person, but this interview offered me the opportunity to hear more about the challenges the children of Detroit face accessing health care, as well as Elliott’s perspective about caring for the kids of this community.
Caitlin (C): What inspired you to become a doctor?
Elliott (E): I would have to say that my parents, especially my dad, pretty much engraved the idea in my head from a few minutes after I was born and maybe even when I was still in my mother’s womb. Of course, I rebelled and wanted to become anything but a doctor. As many people do, I changed my career goals in college multiple times and finally decided to give medicine a chance. I volunteered in a hospital and knew that this is where I belonged. Although I started out with the intent of becoming a family doctor, the part I enjoyed the most was working with kids, so I pursued a career in pediatrics instead. What better a profession for someone who never wants to grow up? Later in life I married a pediatrician who happens to feel the same way.
C: What made you want to work for an organization like CHF?
E: For over nine years, I practiced pediatrics in suburban Detroit. Although I cherished the continuity of care, I longed to make a more lasting impact in my community. In September 2010, I joined Henry Ford Health System’s School-Based and Community Health Program in Detroit. My role as a pediatrician truly became that of an advocate for some of our nation’s most underserved children. The challenges that inner-city children face are overwhelming, with multiple barriers to health care, education, proper nutrition and so much more. Henry Ford’s School-Based health clinics play an integral role in alleviating many of these barriers. I found my work to be truly rewarding. Soon after joining the school clinics I was informed of Henry Ford’s partnership with CHF. It didn’t take more than a few minutes of learning about the program to know that it was the perfect complement to what Henry Ford was already doing with each of its school clinics.