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"We don't get paid to be here," says Dr. Richard Hobbs (in bow tie). "It's a calling, it's something we enjoy doing, and we want to see people do well."
Written by Nathan Clendenin for UNC Health Care
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Richard Hobbs is an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Hospitalist at UNC Hospitals who also helped found the Samaritan Health Center three-and-a-half years ago. Located off I-85 on the third floor of the Durham Rescue Mission, the clinic is host to more than 50 physicians with specialties covering almost any ailment. The clinic, which draws its inspiration from a Biblical story involving a man who stops to serve a wounded traveler, serves anyone in Durham County who is uninsured. One of the main objectives is to help keep folks out of the emergency room, where they wait in long lines and rarely see the same doctor twice. At the Samaritan Health Center, an eligible patient gets free medical care (or can pay a suggested small donation) with caring volunteer doctors and nurses and can return for well visits.
At a young age Hobbs began learning Spanish, and while living in Alabama he quickly became known among the Hispanic community as "their doctor." People traveled great distances to see him. Now as the Samaritan Health Center opens a new clinic off Garrett Road in Durham, Hobbs will put his Spanish to even greater use with the Hispanic and refugee populations in Durham, many of whom live nearby. In fact, the new clinic will have an a bilingual staff.
Interestingly, Hobbs keeps his Spanish chops sharp by speaking at home with his daughter Caroline who is three-and-a-half (the same age of the Samaritan Health Center). As his daughter grows and develops, so does Hobbs' role with the clinic. He started as one of the founders of the center while a resident at UNC, when he did everything from finding furniture on Craigslist to examining patients. Now Hobbs continues as a volunteer physician and also serves on the board of directors, helping to shape the future of the ministry.
Check out this month's episode, and for more information about Samaritan Health Center visit: http://www.samaritanhealthcenter.org/