Dr. Virginia A. Caine, Lisa Harris, unidentified man
Dr. Caine: I'm Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County Health Department. I'm also an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
At the time that I was growing up, with segregation down in the South, I didn't have access to a white dentist who was willing to provide orthodontic work for me. But through some assistance from the NAACP my parents were able to find a dentist, albeit we had to drive an hour's drive away and I always had to get the services in the evening hours. The main thing was that I was able to get those services. So I've always had a special interest in dental services for people.
A lot of HIV patients-- and if they have periodontal disease and their gums are bleeding, we had a lot of dentists during that early period very afraid to kind of provide those services. We were very instrumental in establishing the first HIV dental clinic in Marion County through the Health Department efforts.
Hi, I'm Dr. Caine. How are you today?
Without a doubt, I spend an enormous amount of time with ethnically diverse populations, whether they're disadvantaged or underserved, trying to help them-- not so much empowerment, because, you know, I learn a lot from them. I try to listen, you know, and I learn a lot and we try to tap in-- there's such a rich amount of assets-- there are such great leaders in these communities.
Man at table: --substances, and those substances lead to them, sometimes, having more sexual encounters.
Lisa Harris, CEO and Medical Director: She reaches out to the community by participation in a multitude of community organizations and also right out into the patient's home by making house calls.
Dr. Caine: The ability to listen as opposed to deciding for them what their needs are and having them be a part of any type of intervention or solution for the community. As Director of the Marion County Health Department, our main focus is prevention. I don't want to wait until you've had a severe heart attack and you have to repair somebody. I want to prevent that heart attack from happening in the first place.
One of the earliest volunteering jobs that I ever did was that I volunteered at a gay men's health clinic because they couldn't find a physician to provide their care for them. When you're impacted from this at an early age and you experience this yourself, I think it really heightens your sensitivity about these issues as an adult.