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Saturday 05 December |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Jean-Baptiste Fouque
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This doctor sees five generations of patients pass through his office

Dr. José Goris’ perspective and experience are reflected in his eyes. His expression says everything before he even opens his mouth. “The spiritual connection with the patient is very important,” he says. In his hometown, there was just one doctor, and “he was the ‘god’ who solved the problems of the poor, the rich, the elderly, and children,” he explains. What inspired him to follow in the footsteps of that ‘god?’ The desire to give back everything he’d received in life. For Goris, being a good doctor doesn’t consist only in knowing a lot, but also in “caring for, understanding, and knowing the people.” From his clinic in Washington Heights in Manhattan, he sees five generations of patients pass through his office. “Every minute that goes by, the hard part isn’t writing the prescription; it’s trying to understand the patients, trying to find the solution to their problems.” To this end, it’s key that people understand their own state of health. For him, education is 80% of the treatment.

Time and listening: key ingredients

In this sense, medical attention is a broader reality that implies both the time and the listening that each person needs. For this reason, Dr. Goris explains that “communication with the patient and with family members is what matters most.” All of these factors, he says, lead to an improvement of healthcare in the end, and that’s his ultimate goal. In a city like New York, where so many thousands of people arrive each day, Dr. Goris has to deal on a daily basis with an international challenge, as well as with a local one. He sees many nationalities and different situations, and each person trusts in him completely. At the same time, he doesn’t forget that each and every person counts and that they should be given primary care conscientiously, especially when they are socially disadvantaged. For him, the need today is clear: “The integration of health services is what is most needed in this society, in which many people have access to health services,” he says, referring to the situation in New York State.

Above all, large doses of optimism

It’s no easy task to reach everyone, but SOMOS’s commitment to the community is strong. Dr. Goris incarnates that commitment, with great doses of optimism: “Every day when I get up, I want to do better. I want to serve God better, I want to serve my neighbor better, I want to serve my patients better.” As Sinatra sang, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it everywhere…” Dr. José Goris is part of SOMOS, an exceptional primary care team that provides care to the people of four of the boroughs in New York: the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.