NEWS | December 5, 2018

Addressing patients' medical, mental and social well-being

UC Davis physician helps county clinic provide primary care for low-income populations

clinical pyschology
UC Davis physician Sara Teasdale works at the Sacramento County Health Center, where Medi-Cal and uninsured residents go for primary and behavioral health care.

(SACRAMENTO) — UC Davis physician Sara Teasdale was a resident when she began working at the Sacramento County Health Center, the clinic at Broadway and Stockton Blvd. where Medi-Cal and uninsured residents can go for primary and behavioral health care. The experience was an inspiration for her education and career. In addition to a general internal medicine residency, she completed a fellowship in primary care psychiatry to be more fully prepared to address both the physical and the mental health needs of her patients. (Read more about her fellowship here.) Following residency, she chose to stay at UC Davis Health and serve as an attending physician at the clinic, where she sees patients and trains residents in the skills it takes to provide comprehensive, quality care to patients.

Here are a few insights from Dr. Teasdale about her patients and her work.

What do you like best about working at the clinic?

The patients are amazing. In many cases, I am the first physician they’ve seen in a while. In some cases, I’m the very first physician to see them more than once. There is great satisfaction in building their trust and helping them get the care they need. Also, the UC Davis and county teams I work with are dedicated to underserved populations.

What services does the clinic provide?

UC Davis general internal medicine physicians, pediatricians, psychiatrists and nurse practitioners are there to address patients' medical needs. The county provides language services, clinical pharmacists, radiology, therapy, alcohol and drug dependency counseling and nursing care, along with staff who connect patients with resources for shelter, social and legal services. It’s an ideal partnership.

What kinds of needs do your patients typically have?

The patients' needs are very diverse, including preventive care, disease screening, chronic disease management, mental health support, sexually transmitted disease treatment and acute, clinic-based medical care. All of those services are available onsite.

What services would you like to see added at the clinic?

The clinic is all-encompassing when it comes to primary care. It would be great to add family medicine or ob/gyn services to expand our reproductive health care. Cardiology assessments would definitely be helpful, because so many patients have heart disease. Pulmonary testing would be useful for tracking conditions such as asthma and COPD. Whatever happens next at the clinic, UC Davis can play an important role.

The Sacramento County Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center, or FQHC, funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to provide primary care to medically underserved populations. UC Davis Health is improving lives and transforming health care in the Sacramento region through dynamic, productive partnerships with five FQHCs to broaden access to high-quality health services for everyone, focusing on providing continuity of care for lower-income patients.