Meet the staff: Dr. Terrence Walker

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Dr. Terrence Walker joined Family First Health in August 2015 – seeing patients at our George Street and Hanover centers. He remembers exactly the month when it puts it into context that it was around the time he injured his Achilles tendon playing basketball and needed surgery. Since then, he’s hung up his basketball shorts.

He received his Bachelor of Science from Hampton University. He received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. After doing a residency in Tennessee, teaching back at his dental school and doing another residency in Connecticut, Walker decided it was time to come home to York.

Walker was born and raised here, going to St. Patrick’s, York Catholic and York Suburban for school. It was at Suburban where he discovered his love of dentistry. A high school teacher told them to choose an occupation, shadow someone and do a report. The teacher suggested they choose something they were strong in – and for Walker that was science and art. So Walker decided to shadow his own dentist – Dr. Charles Stein in East York. From there, he knew he wanted to be a dentist.

His favorite part of being a dentist is interacting with patients. “Everyone’s different,” he said. And he works to “connect with patients as people.” It’s been fun along the way when patients come in and say they know his grandparents or aunt. “It’s cool to see how small the unit is,” he said.

When he’s not working in York or Hanover, Walker loves to travel. Mostly, he goes to Atlanta to see his fiancee (they’re getting married this October). The two met while doing their residencies in Tennessee. They’ll be doing their first big trip together after the wedding, when they head to Aruba for the honeymoon.

He loves comedy – too many comedians to pick, though Chris Tucker and Larry the Cable Guy come to mind (he blames living in the South). When it comes to sports – it’s Penn State football, the Philadelphia Eagles and North Carolina Tar Heels basketball. But he’s a giant Penn State fan.

His favorite food is anything Italian – mainly lasagna and pizza. And then it comes to his favorite dental procedures, he admits it’s got to be the restorative and aesthetic work. There’s just something about seeing the immediate turnaround on a patient’s smile and how that makes them feel.

Staff members witness Gov. Wolf’s LGBT anti-discrimination order signing

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Shannon McElroy and Karen McCraw get their photo taken with Gov. Tom Wolf after he signed the LGBT anti-discrimination order.

A week after Family First Health announced its participation in a yearlong collaborative to transform primary care for LGBT patients, three staff members got to sit two rows away from the governor as he signed executive orders saying Pennsylvania would not stand for discrimination of LGBT people.

Because of Family First Health’s work for the LGBT community, Rep. Kevin Schreiber invited us to witness the historical moment that came on the heels of anti-LGBT laws gaining traction and approval in some states.

North Carolina enacted a law preventing cities from creating non-discrimination policies based on gender identity. It also states that students in state schools use the bathroom that corresponds with their born gender.

Outrage over the law was swift, and many businesses and performers are boycotting the state. Gov. Wolf said his executive orders were signed to show the country that Pennsylvania will not stand for discrimination of any kind – but especially against the LGBT population.

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Gov. Tom Wolf signed it!

“I am taking action to protect those that I can and send a signal to the country that Pennsylvania is open for business no matter who you are or whom you love,” Wolf said at the press conference. “What happened in North Carolina, and what is going on in other states, should be a call to pass non-discrimination legislation in Pennsylvania now.”

“We must show that Pennsylvania is the place that William Penn envisioned when he founded our commonwealth on the principle that it is open, diverse, and inclusive for all people.”

Director of Social Services Karen McCraw, Shannon McElroy from Caring Together and I got to sit two rows away from the governor as he signed the orders. While we were there, Karen also spoke to the state Physician General Rachel Levine who said she was aware of Family First Health’s LGBT efforts and wanted to be kept in the loop.

It was an honor to represent Family First Health and the great work you all do during a historic moment for Pennsylvania.

Watch Gov. Wolf’s speech here.

Meet the staff: Dentist Maria Fletcher

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Maria Fletcher was pretty much destined to become a dentist – a fourth generation one, actually. Third generation female dentist, even.

“It’s in my blood,” she says with a laugh. “But Dad always encouraged us to do what we love. And I fell in love with doing it. I felt like it was my calling.”

Dr. Fletcher moved to York from Chicago, where she was born and raised. It was during her master’s program at Midwestern that she met her now husband. And he’s the one who brought her to York when he started his family medicine residency here at York Hospital.

How she ended up at Family First Health is actually a little bit because of him, too – and Dr. LaJuan Mountain’s mother’s fault. Fletcher’s husband was on rotation with Dr. Mountain’s mother who told him all about Family First Health. From there, she applied and said she came to learn all the great benefits to working here.

Her favorite part of being a dentist is getting to know new people and help them with their smiles. They are, of course, one of the first things you notice about a person.

When she’s not working, Dr. Fletcher and her husband like to visit his family in Dover and visit Rehoboth Beach. Her favorite hobby is geocaching, and says there are always a lot of places around to find it. Her dog, Lana – a half Pomeranian and half Chihuahua mix – often tags along to help find things.

When asked about her favorite things or a random fact about her, Dr. Fletcher could only say she loves it here!

Meet the staff: Alexander McKinley

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We want you to get to know your staff at Family First Health in and out of the doctor’s office. It’s a daunting task, but we’re starting with some of our newer providers.
Meet Alexander McKinley – one of our dentists working in the Hanover and Gettysburg centers.

McKinley is a graduate of the Temple University Dental School Class of 2015 and joined us here at Family First Health after graduation. He’s also recently engaged!

Why did he decide to pursue a career in dentistry? “I wanted to help people achieve their best oral health and alleviate any problems that may arise with their oral conditions,” he said.

And at Family First Health, he believes our “open and welcoming atmosphere” emphasizes “putting the needs and well-being of the patients ahead of profit margins.”

When he’s not here working on your teeth, Dr. McKinley likes to go on hikes, read books, learn new languages – he’s learning Spanish and Mandarin – and cook.

He’s a New York Giants and Philadelphia 76ers fan and when it comes to eating and drinking, his favorites are sriracha and egg sandwiches and unsweetened ice tea.

 

Free vision screenings come to York County

We hear a lot of talk about making sure children are fed so they can focus in school. Same goes for making sure they’re taken care of when it comes to medical and dental appointments.

But one thing that might be under the radar is vision. As a child, I never had problems seeing the blackboard during class, but I often had headaches. So we got my vision checked just to be sure that wasn’t the case.

For some kids, maybe they don’t understand why they’re struggling in class. Maybe the misbehave in the back because they can’t see the board. And maybe they don’t know that it’s a sight problem.

And many people don’t have vision insurance for themselves – much less their kids. Let’s be honest, having vision insurance as an adult doesn’t really do much – since glasses and contacts are still costly and over what you get for your annual payments.

Thanks to Envolve, Family First Health is working to change this for many York County residents by bringing in a mobile vision van.

This van will visit Hannah Penn school on Friday, April 1 and will be at Delta/Peach Bottom Elementary on Saturday, April 2. In York, the visit will be for CHILDREN only. In Delta, for the entire community.

So what will happen? Everyone will undergo a free vision screening. If it’s determined from that screening that you need a more comprehensive eye exam, you’ll step onto the van where you’ll get that (also for free). And if you need glasses, you’ll pick out a frame and in three weeks your very own pair will arrive at home (also FREE).

So far, we’ve been getting some great support spreading the word and hope to keep our volunteer doctors busy the entire time they’re in York County. Please help us spread the word!