Celebrating Long-Time Provider and Health Care Hero, Dr. Jaime Ruiz

 
"The driver told my friend to tell Dr. Ruiz his name, and to thank Dr. Ruiz for changing his life. Hearing a story like this made all the hard work we do worth it."

 

The incredible value Health Centers bring to their patients and community is because of health center heroes– individuals who are committed to providing high quality care to patients in need. Health Center Heroes are dedicated to the Community Health Center Movement and deserve to be recognized. Today, join SFCCC in recognizing Dr. Jaime Ruiz and his commitment to providing high quality care to patients in need. Check out SFCCC's interview with Dr. Ruiz and find out why he loves what he does! 

 

How long have you been working in community health?

Community health was part of my training as a Pediatric Resident. I had no idea what community health was until this exposure which was 25 years ago.
 

What is the best part about your job?

I love not only educating and teaching the families and patients I work with, but the fact that every single day, I learn things from them as well. 
 

Are there any patient stories that stand out to you?

Recently, a friend told me that he was in an Uber talking to the driver about changes and gentrification in San Francisco. The conversation made its way to talking about the Mission district and health care. My friend asked the driver if the driver knew someone named Dr. Ruiz. The driver told my friend that I had changed his life. The driver had grown up in the Mission and had never left his neighborhood much at all. I spoke to him about diet and nutrition in relation to his being overweight, topics that he had never been exposed to at home or at school. Because of this education, he made dietary changes and joined a soccer team. His skill level at soccer got him a scholarship to one of San Francisco’s private high schools. The high school was out of his neighborhood and opened many doors for him, including the opportunity for higher education and seeing more of the world. The driver told my friend to tell Dr. Ruiz his name, and to thank Dr. Ruiz for changing his life. Hearing a story like this made all the hard work we do worth it.
 

If you had any advice to give to providers who want to work in community health, what would it be?

If you have any interest in community health, take a leap of faith and explore your curiosity. Find an opportunity to shadow any type of health care professional and see what community health is all about.
 

Why have you continued to work in community health?

I am inspired by my coworkers (medical assistants, providers, administrative staff, health educators, QI, Data Analytics, etc). I am fortunate to work with some amazing human beings including the patients and their families. 

Morgan Finegan