PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE
by Sandy Chase, SFC Volunteer

Senior Friendship Centers is indebted to the medical and dental volunteers at the SFC Rubin Center for Healthy Aging (Sarasota) and Pat Buster Health Clinic (Venice).  Supported by nurses, dental hygienists, pharmacists, administrative staff, nutritionists, and others—physicians and dental professionals help promote the health of seniors throughout their journey of aging. 
 
Let’s raise our “blood pressure cuffs” and “toothbrushes” to these dedicated volunteers, who ensure that low-income seniors and uninsured clients can enjoy life in the best of health.  

Our volunteers doctors help empower this community—ensuring the best medical attention while preparing the next generation of medical professionals.  Partnering with Sarasota Memorial Hospital, SFC clinics also serve as a training site for students from several Florida institutions and the Notre Dame Summer Service Learning Program.

SFC clients have only glowing comments about their physicians and medical care—attesting to the patience these volunteers have.  Dental clients also relate how they’re no longer fearful because they feel secure.
  
In Venice, Nancy Shea-Derickson says, “I’m grateful that the clinic’s focus is exceptional patient care—with the finest, most talented physicians in the country.  Drs. Macmillan (family practice), Perrault (gastroenterology/hepatology), and Lexow (neurology) are brilliant, genuine, and patient.”  

Nancy explains: “My journey is comparable to being on a winning team with three incredible coaches—and dedicated nurses and kind office staff—who provide realistic input.”

Another patient relates coming to the Sarasota clinic for dental work.  To paraphrase:  They saw a lump, referring me immediately to a cancer center for testing and surgery—quite possibly saving my life.

Fortunately for SFC and its clients, accolades go to SFC doctors who reap the rewards of giving of themselves. 

Philip Maiese, D.M.D. says it all: “I think of myself as a smile maker, not tooth taker.”

A member of the SFC medical board, Gastroenterologist/Hepatologist Jean Perrault is rewarded by the grateful smiles of his patients who thought that medical care was beyond their reach. 

Clinical Cardiologist Samuel Kalush, M.D. says, “I consider my volunteer work a privilege the clinic and community has given to me.  The fellowship among the doctors, nurses, and other professionals is rewarding.” 

Referring to the mentoring program, Dr. Kalush says, “I especially enjoy the teaching we offer to medical students who rotate through our clinic.  In my primary career, I practiced thoracic surgery, primarily open-heart operations.”

This community is indebted to our retired medical professionals—our benefactors—who have had notable careers—whether as authors of research studies or part of the staff at such prestigious facilities as the Mayo Clinic.  

When asked how they found out about SFC clinics, doctors warmly say from Prime Times and during a golf game.  Enjoying retirement, Jean Perrault, M.D., read a January 2016 article entitled “Physicians in Paradise,” and the rest is history.  In between golf games, a retired pharmacist shared with Samuel Kalush, M.D., that the SFC Clinic Manager was looking for volunteer doctors. 
 
SFC doctors share the spotlight with others, including board members, staff, and all volunteers.  Besides Dr. Perrault’s accolades for SFC staff members, he appreciates the contributions of his local colleagues and institutions in all their assistance.  Dr. Kalush praises the volunteer nursing staff, saying, “We would not be able to do our work without their selfless assistance.”

Practice Manager Bettyjane Thomas captures SFC respect for volunteer doctors, saying, “They have a heart of gold—loving what they do. They don’t have to be here.  They choose to be—and we are grateful.”  

SFC is indebted to our medical volunteers.  May they continue enjoying a clean bill of health.   

For more information about the medical and dental clinics at Senior Friendship Centers or to become a volunteer, call 941-955-2122 or visit friendshipcenters.org.