Tell us about yourself and what made you decide to go into corrections?

I am a Family Medicine physician with experience and expertise in correctional medicine and population health. I serve at the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps (CC) currently stationed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corps (IHSC) as the Deputy Chief of the Medical Education Unit. Prior to my current role, I served as Clinical Director of a medium-security federal prison and prior to that, as Medical Director of a prestigious White House clinic in which I led a team of healthcare providers impacting the health of generals, admirals, White House staff, congressmen, senators and U.S. Supreme Court justices.

My first duty station after I commissioned was at a medium-security federal prison in South Carolina (SC). I was proud to offer the same level of healthcare that I provided to members within the White House, to patients within the prison. Passionate about minimizing health disparities, I championed a novel health services reentry program entitled “Better Choices, Better Health (BCBH).” The BCBH program addresses health literacy and nutritional disparities. It provides patients with skills to improve mental and physical well-being. I successfully implemented this program in every federal prison in SC and eventually throughout the Southeast region. Completers of the program decreased medically unnecessary emergency room visits, providing a cost savings of over $1 million in the first 2 years. I gained invaluable experience interfacing with state and county representatives and Department level leadership. It is critical that lawmakers and industry stakeholders provide meaningful tools and personalized services to meet the needs of diverse populations.

How long have you been in corrections?

I’ve been in corrections for nearly 7.5 years now. Half of my career in corrections was direct patient care and then I transitioned to a headquarters administrative role in faculty development and training.

Why do you think the Academy is an important correctional source?

I have always been passionate about the advancement of evidenced-based medicine to improve patient outcomes. I have learned so much from the NCCHC conferences and the CorrectCare publication. The networking and mentoring within the Academy have been second-to-none and I highly encourage peers to get involved. 

What do you see for the future of correctional health care?

I think there is a promising future for correctional health care, especially with current attention being paid to gaining specialty recognition for physicians which will allow for enhanced education and training to improve the health of our incarcerated population. I’m also excited for the increased health care re-entry programs that focus on patient education which will have a direct impact on our communities once they are released.