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#HighFiveFriday Feature: Patricia "Trish" Burks

Happy High Five Friday to, Patricia “Trish” Burks!!!

Trish is an occupational therapist, health advocate, wife, mother, sorority sister, and great friend. She is being recognized today for the work that she does to advocate for excellent patient care…FOR ALL PATIENTS!

I currently have a loved one in my immediate family who was hospitalized for the treatment of COVID-19. The hospital staff had been courteous and did a sufficient job answering the questions my family and I asked about our loved one’s care plan. When it was time to submit a referral for where our loved one would receive the next level of treatment, I felt as if all options for optimal care had not fully been exhausted. During the multiple conversations with the case manager, the words from Dr. Katasha Butler’s Representation Matters blog post in the first #RootCauseRacism blog series continue to play over and over in my mind:

“In the past twenty years, thousands of studies have proven that Black people receive lower quality medical care than Whites, independent of disease status, setting, insurance and other clinically relevant factors.
If we are going to improve health, alleviate health disparities, increase hope and advance healing for all, we must celebrate the diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences of our patients and colleagues alike and we have to relish in the opportunities to learn and grow from new perspectives. That's if we want to be of service in the best way possible. Representation Matters.”

I contacted Trish and shared the proposed plan of treatment for my loved one. Not only did Trish, explain everything in laymen’s terms, she agreed there was a better option for my loved one. Trish conferenced in on calls with the case manager, nurse, and I to discuss the recommended treatment plan. As the case manager and nurse shared all the impossibilities of our simple request, Trish asked them to look beyond any possible unconscious bias and consider the possibilities.

I’m happy to report that thanks to Trish’s assistance, the case manager honored our request, submitted the referral, and our loved one is in the facility where she needs to be to receive the best possible rehabilitative care.

COVID-19 has added a huge impact on hospital resources, healthcare workers, frontline workers, and families. During this pandemic, we’ve all found ourselves at a threshold of knowledge and at a place where we must face the unknown. Much like in the world of continuous improvement, it is important for us to ask questions, don’t feel like we must immediately have all the answers, partner with others and figure out the next step we need to take to achieve our target condition of improved healthcare.

On this High Five Friday, I’m thankful for all who are making daily sacrifices to care for our loved ones.

I’m especially grateful for healthcare workers like Trish, who remain curious and informed. I’m oh so appreciative for people like Trish, who actively demonstrates #RespectForPeople and when it comes to figuring out the best possible solution for a patient’s care they begin with a “wouldn’t it be great” mindset.

Friends, please join me in giving Trish and those healthcare workers within your circle of influence a BIG HUGE HIGH FIVE because indeed…they totally ROCK!!!

Left: Trish and her beautiful family.

Center: Trish at the airport, on her way to advocate and assist a close friend in need.

Right: Trish's daily work attire and PPE...what an Angel!

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