February 24, 2020

Good Deeds Spring 2013

04_13gooddeedsDr. Richard Bikowski

Good Deeds at Home and Away

Dr. Richard Bikowski received his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School and returned to Hampton Roads to practice and teach at EVMS after serving his internship and residency at East Tennessee State University and taking additional training at Duke University’s health leadership program.  His CV reflects years of service to the medical school and the community he has made his home.

Described by his colleagues as an unselfish clinical educator par excellence, Dr. Bikowski is quick to share credit with his residents at Portsmouth Family Practice for developing lasting community-oriented and service programs that have been enthusiastically received by the City of Portsmouth – including nearly ten years of staffing homeless medical clinics; home visits for seniors; a battered women’s shelter; a mentoring program pairing PFM residents with Portsmouth adolescents; and a television show focused on seniors and involving resident physicians from PFM.

He has served on multiple community boards focusing on geriatric care and home health, and is an invited member of the Chronic Care Leadership Council. He has contributed on the founding and planning committee of the Sentara Primary Care Collaborative, and been the key faculty from EVMS contributing to the statewide network that has grown out of the early efforts in enhancing clinical practice for primary care practices throughout Hampton Roads.  He currently works with the Sentara Quality Care Network, a community-wide collaborative of nearly two thousand doctors who seeks to improve care.

Dr. Bikowski’s good deeds don’t stop at the borders of Hampton Roads – or even the United States.  He recently traveled to Haiti with four other EVMS physicians — two pediatricians, one family medicine resident, one pediatric fellow and one of his family practice colleagues — accompanying 27 medical students.  Their purpose was to aid indigenous communities within rural Haiti, while fostering ongoing relationships between the Haitian communities and EVMS.  The team, led by Dr. Terri Babineau, flew into Port-au-Prince, and drove the nearly 75 miles to Hinche, to their base at La Maison Fortuné Orphanage.  There, they examined the 250 orphans who live at Maison Fortuné, updating health records and treating their illnesses.  But their borders didn’t stop in Hinche.

They operated mobile clinics, traveling to outlying villages, where they treated hundreds of other Haitians.  Dr. Bikowski recalls treating patients at the Azil, a home where the unwanted of Haiti – babies, the chronically ill, the elderly – are dropped off, to be cared for by the nuns of Mother Teresa.  “These women are saints,” he says, “and our medical students got to see this work first-hand.”

One of those students, Nate Gordon, describes what it was like to work with Dr. Bikowski:  “Even after closing down our mobile clinics, there were emergent, acutely ill patients who needed to be seen. One evening after clinic, a visibly ill child was rushed into the building. Dr. Bikowski, Dr. Jessica Bowers, an EVMS medical resident, and Dr. Bryan Fine, a CHKD pediatric hospitalist, immediately began assessing her.  They treated her and monitored her throughout the night.  After staying up most of the night with her, Dr. Bikowski and Dr. Bowers reported that her condition had improved significantly. It was a moment that will stick with me for a long time. It showed me how invaluable experience can be, and how it can make a difference in a patient’s life.”

“I’ve been in an academic position for 30 years,” Dr. Bikowski says, “and in that role I’ve mentored young people.  Part of that mentoring is showing them how they can make a difference to society in the communities where they live.”  In Haiti, he showed them how it makes a difference to the world.