Crystal Walker, PA is currently Director of Substance Use Disorder Clinical services for My Health My Resources (MHMR) of Tarrant County. She is finishing her last term in the DMSc Program. PA Walker describes her experience during COVID-19:
What challenges do you see with patients and with the PA community during the COVID-19 crisis?
PA Walker: Our facility works with a large amount of indigent and homeless individuals, and they have been hit exceptionally hard with the COVID-19 pandemic. With public places, like libraries and gyms, shut down, they no longer have easy access to personal hygiene or internet services. Many of them have wifi only phones, so when outpatient substance use counseling services moved to tele-health counseling, these individuals have even greater barriers in their way of getting the help that they need.
How are your staff and colleagues responding?
PA Walker: With all of the barriers mentioned in the previous question, it has been absolutely remarkable to see my staff and colleagues step up to this challenge. Tarrant County opened up their large convention center to give the homeless a place for shelter, hygiene, and even medical, mental health, and other needed services. It has been amazing to see our community come together on this issue.
What are some things you learned in the DMSc that are helping you now?
PA Walker: The DMSc program courses gave me a much better insight into organizations logistical concerns, legal and ethical concerns regarding healthcare services, and leadership techniques. All of these aspects have been invaluable with dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.