Jumee Barooah, M.D. is board certified in internal medicine. She recently re-joined The Wright Center for Primary Care Mid Valley as a provider and its Medical Director. Dr. Barooah is actively involved in research, quality improvement and educational initiatives, including the training of residents and inter-professional learners at The Wright Center.
What led you to Northeast PA? I grew up in India and relocated to the U.S. with my husband and my son, who was 2-years-old at the time. My husband was accepted into The Wright Center’s residency program. While he was in residency, I was a stay at home mom and I fell in love with the area. We felt like it was a great fit for our family.
Education and Training: I graduated from Gauhati Medical College and Hospital in India and was working as an Internal Medicine Provider for a few years at a tertiary care center when we relocated to Northeast PA. I completed my residency training in internal medicine in 2013.
Benefits of The Wright Center’s residency program: The program is very patient-centered and that really resonated with me. While I was in training, The Wright Center was one of the first few healthcare centers in the country to be selected for the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) designation. We are still active in following that model and have recently been re-certified as a level-three PCMH, which is the highest level a practice can achieve. The PCMH model is built on the philosophy that when patients come in, we don’t only deal with the acute problems but we try to treat the patient as a whole and aim to address everything at one visit. I believe it also fosters better communication between patient and provider; in the process, it helps us understand each other better and I can deliver better care.
What inspired you to study medicine? Since I was young girl, I always wanted to be in the medical field. When I was 9-years-old, I lost my dad to cancer and in the same year I lost grandparents to diseases. It was very traumatic for me, but the experiences helped solidify my feeling that I was meant to help people. When I think about medicine, the most important thing that comes to mind is the humanness of a person– that’s what the profession is about.
What drew you to the field of primary care? Initially when I was training in India, it was very hospital-based and not very focused on outpatient care. My training with The Wright Center was very outpatient driven, so to me, the primary care aspect was new. Having a mentor and guide in Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak was very inspiring. It helped me realize the primary care field is where I wanted to be.
Most important element of quality care: The foundation of quality care is built on listening skills. The patient understands his or her own body and their symptoms best. As doctors, we can help by using our medical training and analytical skills, but to get the information needed to diagnose, we have to really hear what the patient is sharing with us.
Improvements you have seen in the medical field: We are trying to keep people at home more and take care of them in outpatient settings. We are seeing the integration of different disciplines – like oral health, behavioral health and social work. I believe that coordination of care between the various providers involved in a patient’s care is getting better.
Current projects and initiatives: Diabetes has been recognized as the modern era epidemic and I’m involved in initiatives to help provide additional resources for specific care needs. We’re working to integrate basic eye check-ups, foot care and preventive dental care and we’re finding that many of our diabetic patients benefit from some behavioral health and nutrition visits. We hired a Certified Diabetes Educator and she’s offering self-management support and educational resources to help empower our patients to make positive changes.
Future plans for The Wright Center: We recently purchased a new retina scanner that we’ll use in collaboration with a local ophthalmologist. We can do a basic screen and patients who may not be getting eye care at a separate facility can be referred to our ophthalmologist partner. Soon we will have a podiatrist who will come into our clinical setting, and he or she will be able to see patients already in the office for another appointment. We understand that patients don’t want to fill their calendars with lots of appointments in different places, so we are trying to be their first line of screenings in their Patient-Centered Medical Home.
Favorite part of Northeast PA: I love the mountains and the fall colors; they remind me of where I grew up at the foothills of the Himalayan Range.
Family: Husband Pranjal Boruah, son, Dhruv and daughter, Krittika
Favorite quote? “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” -William Osler