As the director of medical community outreach at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Dr. Donee Patterson is on the front line when it comes to educating residents about health care issues.
Whether it’s visiting churches, mosques, health fairs, schools or prison ministries, Patterson goes where she’s needed.
“A lot of times people in the community are too busy, they’re afraid, or they have a lack of [healthcare] access, so I love that Einstein thought it was important enough to send a physician out to be able to answer some of the needs in the community,” says Patterson.
As an extension of her role, Patterson does a health segment on La Salle TV, and her voice is often heard Tuesdays on 900 WURD’s “Health Quest Live,” where she discusses topics such as breast health, stroke, diabetes, weight control and weight loss surgery.
Recognizing that it is important to stay on the cutting edge, she posts health tips and information on Twitter.
When she discusses health issues, Patterson ensures that she is breaking the information down into layman’s terms.
“I believe that part of my skill is being able to explain to people what’s going on. I really feel like I’m helping people,” says the New Jersey native.
“I just think that being able to talk to people on whatever level they are is something that I really enjoy doing.”
“I feel like I’m really living out my purpose when I’m doing community outreach,” said Patterson, who is also the medical director for the Special Olympics.
From the time she was six years old, Patterson knew that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine.
“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. I’ve never wanted to be anything else,” said Patterson.
Patterson studied biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and later attended East Carolina University School of Medicine.
“I’m just one of those lucky, blessed people who actually got to live my life’s dream,” she said.
The board certified family physician juggles her community work with seeing patients at Einstein’s Medical Center in the city’s Olney section.
Patterson had an integral role in Enon Tabernacle’s “Know Your Numbers” men’s health fair, where she headed up the triage center and provided educational information. The event, held March 24, focused on screening 1,000 men for hypertension, cholesterol, blood sugar, HIV, weight, height and BMI (body mass index) and prostate cancer.
“We really tried to cover some of the major things that affect men in this community,” said Patterson.
Patterson noted during last year’s event that there were men whose diabetes, hypertension and prostate cancer had been detected during the screenings.
“I think that it’s hard to know how far reaching we have been, but we might have kept some man off dialysis. We might have kept some man from having a heart attack, because now he knows his cholesterol numbers, and now we got people following up on something that they were scared about,” she pointed out.
Patterson says that it is important for people to realize that a lot of health issues are preventable.
Before joining Einstein, Patterson worked at Crozer Medical Center for 10 years, where she practiced general family medicine.
She’s received many accolades throughout her career, and was recognized as a Top Doc in 2007 and 2010 in Main Line Health Magazine, and one of the 25 Most Influential African American Physicians in Black Health Magazine 2011.