Diane Pappas sees patients on Monday and Tuesday in Orange. She is OK with the 50 minute drive because she loves her patients and has insinuated herself into the world of Orange to take care of them. This, it turns out, benefits more than her patients. Junior residents, who accompany Diane to clinic during their month on a Child Advocacy rotation, benefit from her connections in the schools, social services, and community agencies. Thanks to Diane’s connections, our residents have a rich array of opportunities that can include making a home visit with Child Protective Services and planning a class for the Orange Boys and Girls Club.As part of the Advocacy rotation, Diane has developed a curriculum that includes reflective writing. The residents have many moving stories to tell. One memorable essay included the retelling of a decision-making quandary about how to get a child with serious illness to the UVa Medical Center in the most timely and safe way. Would it be by private car or local ambulance? Should they wait for the transport team? The urgency of having a patient in your care that needs something in a distant location became a reality for the resident. I’m guessing this resident left the rotation with a new compassion for rural primary care providers.
Many of you know that Diane Pappas graduated from UVa Law before attending medical school and residency at MCV. Did you know that she skipped anatomy class to take the bar?
Combining law and medicine had always been Diane’s goal. When she had the opportunity to work with colleagues in the law school, and to partner with Legal Aid to provide support to patients at UVa Medical Center through the Medical-Legal Partnership, Diane’s attorney-side became quite happy. Patients received services and benefits that she knew were available, if tricky to locate. Moreover, trainees learned about advocating for their patients’ health, beyond immediate diagnosis and treatment. Housing, income, insurance, disability, IEP planning, all determine health outcomes as much as receiving the correct antibiotic in the correct dose.
Although the Medical-Legal Partnership has lost its funding for an attorney, the association with Legal Aid persists, and Diane’s passion for teaching advocacy and leadership skills remains strong. She has lots of ideas about how to educate the next generation of pediatricians in the arena of advocacy and leadership. If you have a particular area of interest, or would like to join her in Richmond to lobby our legislators, speak to her. She’s a busy lady, but I have found she always has time to talk about how to better care for our patients.
Filed Under: Features