Jairo Mejia, M.D., has been with Access Community Health Network since 2005. He serves as the Southwest II Medical Director and is committed to ACCESS' focus on creating a patient-centered medical home for each of its patients.
What led you to work in community-based medicine?
In many ways, I see community-based medicine as the kind that affects individuals, families and society. Coming from a family with many needs, I know firsthand what it is like to struggle with unattended health problems because of financial obstacles. I have experience in many areas of medicine, and community-based primary care has proven to truly fulfill my professional goals as a physician.
What do you like about being a Chicago-based provider?
I come from a small town in Colombia, South America, so Chicago was an adjustment. Now, I wouldn't trade this big city for any other. You get to love the people, the culture, the food, the cold winters and of course, the White Sox!
What do you enjoy most about the ACCESS health center team with whom you work?
I consider my co-workers my second family. We have a relationship of trust and camaraderie, and we strive together for a better ACCESS every day.
What advice would you give to a medical professional or physician who is considering working in community-based health care?
Consider primary care as a lifestyle and a wonderful professional option. I give this advice all the time to my sons, in case they choose to become health workers one day.
What piece of advice do you give every patient?
I always tell my patients that their health is, for the most part, their responsibility. Every one of us needs to be a good administrator of our health. Many good resources are available thanks to nonprofit organizations and federally-qualified health centers like ACCESS. Just look for opportunities to better your well-being.
Tell us about a special patient who made great strides with his or her health under your care.
I had a patient who was homeless. I provided care to him many times at the shelter and at the health center. He was a heavy smoker, abused alcohol and drugs, and was in a really bad situation. Step by step he overcame his struggles, rebuilt his relationships with himself and with others, and now is leading a happier, healthier life. I feel honored to have been able to help him on his road to recovery.