>>JUDITH FOKUM: My name is Judith Fokum. I’m
currently a primary care physician at the Danvers Women’s center in Danvers, Massachusetts.
I attended medical school in Yaounde, Cameroon which is a country in West Africa that has
two national languages, French and English, but most of my medical training was done in
French. I did a residency there in pediatrics, but then moved over to the U.S. where I obtained
a Masters in Public Health degree at Boston University, and went on to do a residency
at North Shore Medical Center in Salem. After my residency I was employed by the hospital
and worked as a hospitalist for over 8 years and now I transition to primary care.
Growing up in Africa which is a resource poor setting I saw a lot of misery around me, and
the question that was on my mind all the time was how I could help, how I could make a difference
in people’s lives? And that’s where it all stemmed from. Unfortunate thing is, in
that resource poor setting girls are usually not educated. I was however fortunate to have
a dad who insisted on sending me to school, and in fact in my family I’m the first girl
to obtain a high school degree. And my father was supportive enough to send me to the University,
and after which I went to medical school to achieve my goal of trying to make a difference
in people’s lives. The North Shore Physician Group is an affiliate
of the North Shore Medical Center. And this whole group is part of the Partners network,
and is affiliated with tertiary hospitals like Mass General and Brigham and Women, and
so there’s an established working relationship with those entities. Such that if patients
need a referral or a higher level of care, the referral is done very easily, because
of the working relationship that exists between the two entities.
While I worked as a hospitalist I got to see patients when they were most ill. And it’s
difficult to establish a long lasting relationship with these patients because you take care
of them for three to four days and you may never see them again, or you may never see
their family. But as a primary care now I get to see my patients, their family, not
just once but over several years I hope. And with this I establish a long lasting relationship
with these patients, and their families and that to me is unique, there’s nothing that
can replace that.