Dr. Lauren Sullivan, DO, began volunteering with CommunityHealth in 2016 and has served over 244 hours throughout the past 7 years. As a doctor of internal medicine, Dr. Sullivan not only diagnoses complex illnesses but also supports overall well-being in her patients. Even with her busy schedule as an attending physician with the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, she is an irreplaceable member of the CommunityHealth team and was awarded Volunteer Preceptor of the Year in 2022 for her devoted service.
For this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, we are pleased to share more about Dr. Sullivan’s inspiring story and admirable background…
In a few sentences, tell us more about yourself and your background:
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and went to medical school at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM). I completed my residency at the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and Rush University Medical Center in Primary Care Internal Medicine. Following residency, I went to MacNeal Hospital to complete a Chief Residency Year in Internal Medicine Residency Program and eventually served as the Program Director for 3 years. I have recently relocated to Charlotte, NC, but hope to continue to serve at CommunityHealth in some capacity.
Why and how did you begin volunteering at CommunityHealth?
I first started volunteering as a second year medical student at CCOM and continued throughout medical school. Volunteering as a medical school allowed me to serve the community and learn clinical skills. I took a brief hiatus during residency and was very excited to return as an Attending Preceptor for the CCOM Clinic. I came back to CommunityHealth as an attending because I believe in their mission of providing quality health care to patients who are uninsured and teaching our students while we provide this care. My hope is that by providing an excellent experience for the students, they will come back as attending physicians as well to serve at CommunityHealth.
What has kept you volunteering all this time?
The people. From the patients to the staff to the students. Everyone who comes through the doors of the clinic believes in the mission and everyone comes together to serve. Even with the challenges of the pandemic, I found going to CommunityHealth each month rejuvenating. Everyone at CommunityHealth is committed to serving our patients and will do everything they can to help each other achieve that goal. Coming to the CommunityHealth CCOM clinic on Saturdays is one of the highlights of my month.
How has working with CommunityHealth influenced your perception of healthcare?
My experience at CommunityHealth has strengthened my belief that health care is a human right. We should do everything we can to support our patients in achieving optimal health.
What does being a healthcare professional mean to you?
Being a doctor, means I can use my skills to help others achieve health. I value the relationships I am able to build with my patients and walk beside them in their health journey.
Why is volunteering important to you? What do you get out of it?
Volunteering is important to me because it allows me to give back to the community. Particularly at CommunityHealth, I can care for patients and teach medical students. My hope is that their experience at CommunityHealth inspires them to continue to give back as attending physicians.
What advice would you give to a new volunteer at CommunityHealth?
Welcome and enjoy it! CommunityHealth is such a welcoming clinic for patients, staff and volunteers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make suggestions. We are all working together to provide the best care possible for our patients.
Outside of volunteering with CommunityHealth, how do you like to spend your free time?
I enjoy going on hikes with my husband and our dog, Storm. I also enjoy weightlifting.
Watch Dr. Lauren Sullivan, DO, receive her award during the 2022 Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony!
Health care providers like Lauren that offer an inclusive and holistic evaluation is what makes CommunityHealth more than a free clinic. We welcome other professionals looking to expand safe spaces in health care to please apply to volunteer!