Patrons for Peace Project, Inc. has been extremely fortunate to partner with Barbara White, MSN, CNRP, a nurse practitioner whose office lies in Historic Old Town Laurel. She has saved the day for many of our clients in some incredibly unique and difficult situations so many times. Her skill set is so wide and all-encompassing that describing what she does is not possible in this monthly feature. She is the primary caregiver for many of our clients in addition to helping with one-time medical and/or psychiatric needs and treatments. Her office is tucked away down C Street near Riverfront Park and – although small – it provides mighty big acts of healing. One can often see NP students working in the office as Barbara imparts her wealth of knowledge and experience upon them and they learn what it takes to be the best at holistic, client-centered care.
Barbara’s welcoming office manager Dawn greets and helps everyone to feel loved and treasured when they come into the waiting room. We once took a client to her who had recently been released from incarceration for many years. He needed to get psychiatric medication for his clinical depression. The wait period for this client to get into outpatient mobile psychiatric care was going to be a few weeks. Therefore, we needed to get an antidepressant to help him through the wait time bridging care while waiting for wrap around services. I will never forget when he walked into the office, Dawn greeted him, took him to a seat and helped him with needed paperwork. Dawn then handed him a holiday card. He looked astonished and said, “What is this?” She explained it was a holiday card prepared in advance for him. A tear ran down his face and he later told us he had not received any cards in years.
What we love about Barbara is her holistic approach to wellness. As such, she is concerned with the entire person when she treats them. People feel relaxed, restored, and safe to share what is on their minds when they come in for their appointments. One client told us they are so comfortable in Barbara’s office that they feel like they are in their second home.
Barbara White’s educational background is remarkably diverse. In addition to her advanced practice nursing degrees, she has a master’s degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from Loyola College. Her eclectic background and treatment approach enable her to have eyes open to tailor unique modalities of care to achieve maximum wellness for each client. She is now a registered provider with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. One size does not fit all in Barbara’s office.
She is acutely aware of the disparities of our healthcare system that directly impact minorities. She knows that racial and economic factors cause minorities to be disproportionately burdened by chronic illness and substandard medical care. She pays special attention to this fact in the care that she gives her clients. She spends extra time with clients when necessary, makes sure her fees are affordable, accepts Medicaid, and partners with community programs that uplift clients even when it means more work for her and her office.
Barbara’s view of each client is not through a monocular lens looking at one illness, one symptom or one problem but instead taking on a panoramic view. Patrons for Peace Project is so grateful.
This February we are featuring Ali Thakkar, a pharmacist who owns The Laurel Main Street Pharmacy.
Patrons for Peace Project is extremely fortunate to be able to use the services provided by The Main Street Pharmacy for our clients. This pharmacy is housed in a relatively small space, but the many moving parts make up a powerhouse of therapeutic pharmaceutical tasks. The pharmacy is run very efficiently with a staff of seven where customers may hear French, Spanish, Hindi, Korean and of course, English spoken.
Ali can multitask using critical thinking skills tailoring and keeping the needs of each client on his mind as he fills prescriptions, counsels, and educates them about their medications. He is patient and adapts his protocol to meet the needs of his clients. The pharmacy can provide compliance packaging, bubble packaging, in addition to compounding where medications can be prepared in unique formulas for specific client needs. The pharmacy can provide Flu, Pneumonia, and Shingles vaccine to clients when needed.
The Laurel Main Street Pharmacy specializes in working with clients who have chronic conditions so
helping this population of people to be compliant with medication schedules is at the front of Ali’s mind. He has an auto-fill program set for clients at their request and three drivers who can deliver medication throughout Prince George’s County, Baltimore and of course locally here in Laurel.
Ali has created an atmosphere at The Main Street Pharmacy with his staff where our clients feel welcomed, respected, and cared for in a manner so they know they are getting special treatment. When they walk in the door services are quick, compassionate and their name is known. What Patrons for Peace Project Inc. really likes about The Main Street Pharmacy is that everyone is treated like a VIP when they come through the door. We are so grateful to Ali and his incredibly wonderful staff!
Patrons for Peace Project is incredibly grateful to Marty, the house manager at the Champ House in Bowie, Maryland. This chemical dependency recovery program is tucked away on a beautiful spacious wooded property and can house up to 16 men. We are so fortunate to be able to partner with this wonderful program for our clients who are ready to try a new life without drugs and alcohol.
Marty has created a great atmosphere at Champ House where men who feel unloved are loved despite their pasts. Men who do not feel respected are respected; men who have given up hope finally feel hopeful about their future. Marty creates an atmosphere of acceptance and serenity because he, himself is in recovery from drugs and alcohol. He has walked in many ways in the shoes of each person who enters this program. He can actually say, “I know how you feel. I’ve been there and I’ve done that. But look at me now.” He explains that with a 12-step program and God, he overcame his addiction and continues to work on abstinence one day at a time.
Marty went into his first recovery program at a place called “Second Genesis,” a two-year program in 1984. Part of the admission process was an initial drug screen. When the staff at Second Genesis asked him, “What’s gonna’ show up,” he replied, “Everything. Heroin, barbiturates, PCP, methamphetamines, and cocaine.” In other words, Marty was using anything and everything that he could get his hands on to snort, swallow, and/or inject. He walked out of Second Genesis in 30 days not ready to stop the vicious cycle of addiction at that point in his life. His past includes incarceration, multiple admissions to chemical dependency programs and methadone maintenance. Many would have described him as hopeless — a lost cause.
As of January 1, 2021 Marty will have been clean (drug and alcohol free) for 28 years and four months. He cares so much about people in recovery that he has made it his life’s work to help chemically dependent people because he lives on the premises of the Champ House. He monitors, mentors, cooks, cleans, and helps to run the 12-step meetings where the men live. Marty knows how to interact with a multitude of personalities. He has a great sense of humor and knows how to model his solid spiritual foundation enjoying life in a clean state with one of his hobbies of riding his motorcycle.
Marty is a miracle and Patrons for Peace Project is so very thankful to him. He is a living example of hope and a testament to the concept that no chemically person is a hopeless case but instead a miracle waiting to unfold.
Dr Jeffrey Chung is an ophthalmologist and retina specialist who has supported Patrons for Peace Project in numerous ways for many years. He is a true humanitarian who selflessly cares for his patients as if they were part of his family. Our relationship with Dr. Chung began during an emergency with a client who was having a retinal hemorrhage.
Patrons for Peace was helping a homeless man get disability and Social Security had referred him to a neurologist for an evaluation as part of their decision-making process. During this neurological evaluation, the neurologist was alarmed and reported the client was having a retinal hemorrhage and needed immediate emergency surgery, or he would go blind. He promptly stopped the exam. This was a terrifying situation in the late afternoon on a Friday. Patrons for Peace Project made many unsuccessful phone calls to many doctors. When Dr. Chung was contacted, he asked that we bring the client immediately to his office and not to worry that he had no insurance. He assured us that saving his eyesight was most important. It was truly a miracle that this amazing flexible and talented doctor stayed in his office waiting for this man and ended up performing emergency laser eye surgery and saved his eyesight! All after hours on a Friday night!
Patrons for Peace Project has continued to bring clients over the years to Dr. Chung who have unique needs. Many of these clients have usually either received little or no eye care and have lost hope for answers to their eye maladies. Dr. Chung is empathetic, attentive, honest, proactive, and gives unbiased evidence-based answers to the clients. He spends time with each person treating them with dignity and answering each question thoroughly without rushing. When clients leave his office, they are so thankful that they went.
When the current pandemic arrived Dr. Chung was very prepared. In fact, he was prepared ahead of his time – having clients and office staff wear facial masks in his office before any other offices we work with mandated this practice. Not only was he prepared he wanted us to be prepared during COVID-19. He has generously given us masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer that we use daily. He has generously worked hard gathering and sharing PPE with his colleagues. That behavior of caring for others is typical of Dr. Chung.