I started my fellowship earlier than most and have already been working at Greater Baden Medical Services for over a month. Greater Baden is a non-profit that provides primary care at 6 clinic locations in southern Maryland, both in the urban Capitol Heights area which borders Washington, D.C., and in more southern, rural areas of Prince George’s, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties. Greater Baden is a Federally Qualified Health Center which means that it receives federal funding with a mandate to serve individuals who are poor and/or uninsured. This population almost exclusively makes up all of the patients seen at Greater Baden.
Before I started my fellowship I was certainly not aware of how much need there was for health care in this area, and many other areas like it across the United States. Despite being so close to a large city, there is a primary care physician shortage and there are many Medically Underserved Areas within the region that Greater Baden serves. Most new patients that come to Greater Baden were previously receiving no health care or just going to hospital emergency rooms. Growing up in Canada where there is publicly funded, universal health care, I never imagined that access to basic primary care was this difficult for so many people. I also did not realize this while I was at Princeton, so I am very glad to have gained a better understanding of it within the first few weeks of my fellowship. It has certainly given me more perspective on health care in the United States as well as the importance of the recent Supreme Court ruling.