Current Member Spotlight: Dr. Thiago Halmer
Dr. Thiago Halmer explains why he wants community outreach to be his main legacy as a #lifesavER and Chief Resident Physician in Emergency Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Halmer is a proud constituent of Senator Borris Miles and Representative Garnet Coleman.
Beyond the Emergency Room
In choosing a career path, I have always felt that I should focus my energy where I feel I could do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It was this deep-rooted desire to serve others that essentially guided me to pursue a career in medicine. Born into a life of poverty in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and having immigrated to the United States at age six, I have been fortunate enough to have had the right opportunities in my life to successfully pursue my dreams. This has developed an enormous sense of duty within me to give back to those less fortunate in the community.
Throughout my education, it has been important for me to remain connected to the community as it helps me stay in-touch with the harsh realities some people face daily, ultimately grounding me and reinvigorating my will to be a catalyst for change in the future. To me, general health goes beyond someone’s physical state and encompasses emotional, mental, economic, and social elements. Community initiatives through various organizations support many of these aspects of health helping the disadvantaged live healthier, more balanced lives regardless of socioeconomic status.
One of my goals as Chief Resident in Emergency Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine has been to instill and promote a culture of service and community engagement within our young program. Every day I witness my noble colleagues work tirelessly towards healing patients, so I thought, why not expand the good they are doing beyond the hospital walls?
Other programs we are getting involved in as a residency program:
· Project C.U.R.E. is the largest provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world. We volunteer as a group once a year to help organize donated medical equipment in their warehouse in Houston
· Great Feast held annually by Houston Club of Clubs (a charitable organization) on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve - the article I sent you talks about our involvement in this.
· Shattered Dreams is a program run by Harris Health System in partnership with Houston Fire Department (HFD) designed for juniors and seniors at local high schools that raises awareness of the consequences of drinking and driving. It involves the dramatization of an alcohol-related crash on or near a high school campus. Our role will be to promotes injury prevention and responsible decision-making among high school students regarding underage drinking and impaired driving
· The Baylor College of Medicine – Patient Discharge Initiative (BCM-PDI): a joint Rice and BCM volunteer organization consisting of 45 Rice pre-medicine volunteers that aims to help Houston’s underserved patient population. Members volunteer at the emergency center of Ben Taub Hospital and discuss various social services like medical insurance applications (Medicare/Medicaid, Gold Card), primary care clinics around Houston, food stamp applications, and home-care instructions with patients as they are being discharged from the hospital. Volunteers also review follow-up appointments with patients and, if applicable, provide the most cost-effective methods to purchase medications. They conduct follow-up calls one week post-discharge to ensure patients were able to attend appointments, find medications, and apply to social programs.
We see some of these patients in the worst moments of their lives, but I also think it’s important that we experience the best of times with them as well. Interacting with the community that we serve is a vital facet of showing the our patients that we care about them all the time, not just when they’re in the hospital. We get to give back while also getting the rewarding experience of helping our community, which is why most of us wanted to go into emergency medicine in the first place.