My health center, Alvernon Family Medicine, in the heart of Midtown Tucson is surrounded by vibrant communities from around the world. Our physicians, nurse practitioners, residents, nurses and staff pride ourselves as the medical home for a diverse patient population, with as many as a quarter of our patient visits made by individuals and families who came to this country as refugees from war-torn regions of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. While we struggle with visits prolonged by translator phones and managing the health needs in resource-challenged communities, we know we provide great care to many who refer more from their community to us day after day.
As I listen to the vitriol from the highest levels of our government — painting refugees as dangerous and taking advantage of us — my patients I’ve cared for over the last two years prove the opposite. They’ve reminded me of how lucky I am to be an American, our role in ensuring human rights for families that have fled their homes for a second chance at life, and how they keep America great.