“Working with refugees in Central America while I was in medical school, I'd listen to their stories, and their words opened my eyes to the injustices and inequalities under which many people have to live. I've wanted ever since to help improve health and human rights with those most in need.”
“DRIVING FORCE FOR LOW-INCOME HEALTH CARE...”
As a family physician and Medical Director of Tucson's El Pueblo Health Center, a community health clinic providing primary care to low-income residents, many of whom have no health insurance, Joy Mockbee is following a passion and commitment to public service that initially drew her into medicine and inspired her to work for the underprivileged.
"While I was in medical school and after, I worked in a free clinic for refugees in Central America, and I'd hear the stories of the local people, and it opened my eyes to the injustices in the world and the inequalities under which so many people live," she said. Her commitment to helping the underserved led Mockbee to the El Pueblo Health Clinic and to Doctors for Global Health, a private, non-profit organization founded in 1995 that promotes health, education and other human rights throughout the world.
An outspoken advocate for community health care, access to health care for the uninsured and the need for health care system reform, she was nominated as a Local Legend by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7). A graduate of the University of Arizona Medical School, Mockbee earned a Masters of Public Health at the Harvard University School of Public Health and completed her residency at the Ventura County Medical Center, in California, before coming to El Pueblo Health Center in 1999 as a family physician. In 2001, she became medical director and now supervises a staff of seventeen physicians and other health professionals. She is also Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona.
Upon her arrival in Tucson, Mockbee also assumed directorship of the local TCE (trichloroethylene) Medical Monitoring Program, which screens residents of Tucson's south side who were exposed to the carcinogenic pollutant TCE, which was dumped into the area's water supply for more than 25 years. She and colleagues from the University of Arizona College of Public Health have spearheaded procedures for the program, including a public awareness campaign about the dangers of TCE.
A passionate advocate for international health and human rights, Mockbee is a member of Doctors for Global Health, serves on its board and coordinates its volunteers. She travels frequently to Chiapas, Mexico, to provide medical services and to help train local medical providers at a hospital built by indigenous people. The 60-bed facility is the only source of medical care for Chiapas and the surrounding region and many people walk for days to seek treatment there.
At home in Tucson, she also serves as the Medical Director of the Family Clinic, a student-run interdisciplinary clinic for refugees and victims of torture that is part of the University of Arizona's Commitment to Underserved People Program. Herbert K. Abrams, MD, MPH and Professor Emeritus of Family and Community Medicine at the university describes Mockbee as a "physician devoted to health and human rights who uses her talent to serve the community in the most extraordinary manner."
Appointed family physician, El Pueblo Health Center, Tucson
Becomes Medical Director of the trichloroethylene (TCE) Medical Monitoring Program, Tucson
Appointed Medical Director, El Pueblo Clinic, Tucson
University of Arizona College of Medicine