February 19, 2017

Good Deeds Winter 2017

Ian Persaud, MD, MPH
Medical Director of Cardiology & Specialty Care JenCare Medical Centers

When Dr. Ian Persaud came to Hampton Roads in 2013 to join JenCare Medical Centers, he brought with him a history of volunteerism and service that extended far beyond the borders of the Brooklyn community, where he was a fellow at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.  Throughout his fellowship, he participated in many of the local and international outreach activities and missions of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and the International Presbyterian Church.

It was only natural, therefore, that he would seek out volunteer and outreach opportunities when he came to Hampton Roads.  These he has found in a number of places.

Since June of 2014, he has been an active member of the Soup Kitchen Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in the Ghent section of Norfolk.  “I really love to cook,” Dr. Persaud says, “it’s a real stress reliever.”  But more importantly, he says, it’s an opportunity to meet people living in the community who, whether just down on their luck or truly impoverished, have interesting stories to tell.  And it’s an opportunity to help them.

Dr. Persaud also participates in the Church’s Video Mission Ministry.  “This was something I got interested in during my fellowship,” he says.  “I worked with the inmates at Riker’s Island.  In New York, many of the families lived close by, so they could visit the inmates regularly.  But locally, many of the inmates’ families are eight hours away or more, so it’s impractical to visit.”  The Video Ministry works with prisons to facilitate on-screen conferences between inmates and their families, much like a Skype session.  “There are inmates who haven’t laid eyes on their family members in years,” Dr. Persaud says.  “Allowing them to have that connection can be very emotional at times, but always gratifying.”

Dr. Persaud also devotes time at the HOPES Clinic, supervising and teaching the medical students who volunteer there.  HOPES, which stands for Health Outreach Partnership of EVMS Students, has served uninsured citizens of Norfolk with long term and specialty care since its founding in 2011.  Until recently, there wasn’t a cardiac clinic at HOPES, and many of the patients who regularly use the clinic have sought attention from area emergency rooms for chest pain, heart failure, or other cardiac conditions.  “Once these patients leave the ER, it’s hard for them to get the necessary follow-up studies like echocardiograms or EKGs,” Dr. Persaud explains.  “So we’ve been identifying the subset of these patients with multiple admissions for heart failure or uncontrolled blood pressure who have been coming to the HOPES clinic, to get them into a specialty clinic, where we can manage them more closely, even doing echocardiogram studies so they don’t have to go elsewhere.”  Dr. Persaud will serve as Medical Director of the Cardiac Specialty Care Clinic, which he anticipated would be fully operational in January 2017.

In all of his community service work, Dr. Persaud likes having time with individuals who might otherwise pass under the radar – to give them some much needed attention.  Whether he’s cooking and serving meals with the soup kitchen ministry, facilitating family video conferences for prisoners, or supervising students who are providing much needed medical care to underserved members of the community, he says, “It’s nice to have a specific skill set that allows me to help them in a particular way.”