Volunteering

How is Plum Health Making an Impact?

Family Medicine Doctor Reaching Out in Detroit

 Dr. Paul Thomas speaking to elementary school students at Munger Elementary/Middle School on Detroit's West Side during Career Day.

Dr. Paul Thomas speaking to elementary school students at Munger Elementary/Middle School on Detroit's West Side during Career Day.

This week, I engaged in two outreach events, one at Munger Middle Elementary/Middle School on Detroit's West Side and one at the Northwest Activities Center in NW Detroit. The first event had me speaking to a group of about 30 elementary school students, sitting cross-legged on a gym floor. We talked about what it takes to become a doctor, the dreams that they had for their futures, and the steps that it would take to achieve those dreams. They even made me a nice gift for coming out - a small paper doctor. 

 Dr. Paul Thomas at Munger Elementary/Middle School on the West Side of Detroit.

Dr. Paul Thomas at Munger Elementary/Middle School on the West Side of Detroit.

The event at the Northwest Activities center had me speaking to about 100 senior citizens who had innumerable questions about health and wellness. They asked me about everything from high blood pressure, to diabetes, to nutrition, exercise, arthritis, and declining cognitive function. Also at this event, the community had organized fresh food distribution.

 Dr. Paul Thomas at the Northwest Activities Center in NW Detroit after speaking to a group of senior citizens about health and wellness.

Dr. Paul Thomas at the Northwest Activities Center in NW Detroit after speaking to a group of senior citizens about health and wellness.

Both were inspiring in different ways, and also showed how we can make a big impact by reaching out to the community and educating people from elementary age to senior citizens. I think a lot about impact, and how we're making a positive impact in the community, and I wanted to share an essay I wrote earlier this month:

How a Family Doctor Makes an Impact

The problem that I am solving is access to affordable medical care, not just for individuals, but also for small businesses and communities. On the individual level, I cannot count the number of people who have presented to our clinic to establish care with a family doc for the first time in years, sometimes even decades. They feel comfortable because the price point is understandable, services and charges are transparent, and we've created a welcoming environment for all people.

I’ll give the example of the lifelong Detroit resident who had a uncontrolled blood pressure, who avoided medical care because the cost was simply too high. She signed up for a membership with us, and we are managing her blood pressure with medication that costs under $2/month. She is now at goal, and cried in our office after reaching this critical threshold.

Next, we’re solving a big problem for small businesses. Small business owners want to provide services and benefits that will help them attract and retain employees, and often times traditional health insurance products are financially out of reach. Rather, they choose to provide Plum Health and our health care services for their employees: an affordable product that’s understandable and easy to access for their workers. We are now seeing small businesses that are proud to offer our service as a benefit to their employees as a mean of attracting and retaining talent.

Finally, we’re solving the problem of neighborhood-based primary care services in Detroit, a city that is critically underserved from a primary care perspective. There are fewer than 100 primary care doctors in the City of Detroit, equating to roughly 1 doctor for every 6,300 residents. We are meeting a significant need in our Southwest Detroit location by serving a community that otherwise would not have access.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC in Detroit, Michigan

Plum Health at TechTown Detroit

This week, I was invited to speak at TechTown Detroit's Retail Boot Camp, and as a proud alum of the program, of course I said "yes!"

If you're unfamiliar, Retail Boot Camp is about training young entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills to start or grow a small business in Detroit. Some successful graduates of the program include House of Pure VinParamita SoundTribalfare, Mama Coo’s BoutiqueThird Wave Music and 2015 Hatch Detroit winner Live Cycle Delight.

The students had 45 minutes to ask me anything about my business and about what it takes to be a successful business in Detroit. I participate in events like this because small businesses are the backbone of a successful economy. I'm a life long resident of Southeast Michigan and I want to see Detroit and its surrounding communities thrive. Part of having thriving communities and growing economies is having a robust start-up/entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Below are some photos from the session! Thanks for reading,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC

Detroit Medical Students Run a Free Medical Clinic

For the last 6 years I've been volunteering at a free medical clinic on Detroit's East Side called the Robert R. Frank Student Run Free Clinic or the SRFC. The SRFC services Detroit residents who are uninsured, and as their name implies, it is run by medical students.

Last night we had a stakeholders meeting and I am continually impressed by these medical students and their diligence, commitment, and compassion. 

If you'd like to help these students serve more uninsured Detroit citizens, you can donate here, participate in their upcoming 5K, or participate in their upcoming Golf Outing (date TBD)

Street Medicine Detroit

This month I had the opportunity to volunteer with Street Medicine Detroit, an organization dedicated to helping homeless people in Detroit with their medical care. This was an organization that I volunteered with and supported during its early days at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

The service is run by WSU medical student volunteers and they go out to different locations across Detroit and assist those who need medical care. This can be done on street corners, in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and churches across the city.

This month, I met up with the volunteering students at Manna Community Meal to deliver health care services. This is in the basement of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. It was a great way to give back, and if you want to support Street Medicine, they take donations at their website, here

 Talking with a group of medical students while volunteering with Street Medicine Detroit at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in the Corktown Neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. 

Talking with a group of medical students while volunteering with Street Medicine Detroit at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in the Corktown Neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. 

Plum Health at Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon

This morning, I was out at the Rock CF River's Half Marathon and 5K in Grosse Ile, Michigan. Rock CF is an organization that advocates for patients with Cystic Fibrosis across the country, and their global headquarters are in Detroit on West Grand Boulevard. 

Emily Schaller is the founder of Rock CF and organizes this race to raise money for the organization. The Rivers Half Marathon started at Grosse Ile Middle School and ran the perimeter of the island. The Rivers 5K started at the Grosse Ile Airport and ended at the GI Middle School. 

I was representing Plum Health DPC as the race doctor and I was stationed at Mile 7.5/8ish. Fortunately, there were no major course injuries to report and things ran smoothly - no pun intended! 

I'm really proud of the Rock CF organization, their mission, and the work that they do in the community. If you'd like to be a part of Rock CF and/or donate to people with Cystic Fibroses, hit up their website!

As a physician, I recommend 30 minutes of exercise each day for 5 days each week. That's about 150 minutes of exercise each week. Aerobic exercise like running a 5K is a perfect way to get and stay in shape. Exercise has innumerable benefits from better heart and blood vessel function to better control of diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. 

Now that the weather is nicer, it's the perfect time to develop healthy habits like running or walking every day. My pro tip is this: hang your workout clothes on your bed post and make exercise the first thing you do when you start your day. 

To learn more about how you can become healthier, reach out to me here!

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health