How One Doc Uses Cartoons to Address Social Determinants of Health

2018-03-26_general_healthcareOn social media and in the healthcare space, Anita Ravi, MD, is largely known for her patient advocacy and cartoon work depicting the social determinants of health (SDOH) for vulnerable patients and how providers must address those factors to support a better patient experience.

But in the PurpLE Clinic, a New York City-based federally-qualified health center (FQHC) at which Ravi practices family medicine, her patients know her for building trust and meeting both their healthcare and social needs.

Most of Ravi’s patients at the PurpLE Clinic have experienced some form of trauma, including sexual violence and human trafficking. This patient population experiences numerous social determinants of health, including homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, and other significant barriers to a healthy lifestyle.

“I went into family medicine mainly because I wanted to be able to work in women’s health, particularly with people who’d experienced gender-based violence in whatever form that looked like,” Ravi said in a recent interview with PatientEngagementHIT.com. “That can include domestic violence, rape, or sexual assault, and particularly those who are interfacing with the criminal justice system.”

To tackle those demographics, Ravi had to complete extensive interdisciplinary medical training. During her residency, Ravi volunteered on Rikers Island at the women’s prison doing health education. Her volunteer work allowed her to gain skills working with underserved patients and tied together to help her start the PurpLE Clinic in 2015. …more

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