This month we’re talking with Dr. Camille Spears, our 2020 Resident Physician of the Year. Dr. Spears is one of the many incredible residents who generously lends her time and expertise to CommunityHealth! Read on to learn more about her and how her experiences at CommunityHealth have shaped her career in healthcare.
In a few sentences, tell us more about yourself and your background!
I grew up in small town in Texas and completed my college education and medical school training there in Austin and San Antonio. In medical school, I completed a concurrent Master of Public Health degree and focused on LGBTQ advocacy. I developed a free clinic for LGBTQ people in San Antonio with an emphasis on serving the transgender community. In working with this population, I grew to learn more about HIV medicine, the history, and the surrounding field of infectious disease. My experiences at Rush and CommunityHealth have solidified this path and I’m heading back to San Antonio for an Infectious Disease fellowship this summer. I plan use my public health knowledge to continue to develop interventions for this population, specialize in HIV medicine, and work as a primary care provider for people living with HIV.
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
Teleportation definitely. Think of all the spur of the moment vacations you could take!
Do you have any special talents/skills you’d like to share?
I love cooking and perfecting different sauces for my favorite recipes. I make a mean chicken piccata.
What does your ideal vacation look like?
Fresh air and nature, delicious local food, and good friends.
Why and how did you begin volunteering at CommunityHealth?
CHC was one of the reasons I was drawn to my residency program. There were limited resident spots available, so I wrote a short essay to my chief residents on why I wanted CHC to be part of my training. Luckily, they chose me as a lucky volunteer!
Do you remember your first day? What surprised you?
I remember how warm all the volunteers and employees were on my first day. I felt a sense of shared purpose from everyone, and despite the hard job of running a clinic, everyone was so positive and welcoming.
What has been your biggest takeaway from your time with CommunityHealth, and how does this impact your other life or career goals?
CommunityHealth is a reminder of how satisfying it is to work in a clinic that provides point-of-care services that allow you to reach out to various specialists, social workers, therapists, and experts to work together for your patients. Sometimes clinical care can put a Band-aid on problems downstream, but this model recognizes how many different aspects of life inform people’s health and helps address them all at once. It feels like you’re able to work together with others to truly support people from all angles. I plan to continue to work in settings like this moving forward, and I honestly think it should be the standard model for all primary care clinics.
How has working with CommunityHealth influenced your perception of healthcare?
CHC is a great example of what can be accomplished outside of our current model of private insurance and defensive medicine. Everyone works together to provide care in a holistic way that respects every patient as a whole person with complex needs. Working here reminds me to dream bigger than our current system.
What advice would you give to a new volunteer at CommunityHealth?
Really get to know the volunteers, employees, and patients! You are joining a wonderful community with so much to teach you.
Thanks so much to Dr. Spears for her wise words and the wonderful care she provides to our patients! CommunityHealth couldn’t do what we do without the support of our compassionate, dedicated volunteers.