Dr. Patrice Latimer is the family medicine physician for the new UnitedHealthcare Alief Clinic in Houston, Texas, which is dedicated to helping UnitedHealthcare Community Plan Medicaid members and the uninsured gain access to primary care.
We sat down with Dr. Latimer to talk about her background, her 19 years of experience in maternal care and her strong commitment to women’s health and caring for underserved patients.
Q: Why did you decide to go into medicine?
A: Something about medicine captivated me from an early age. While attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in summer internship programs where I shadowed physicians in different specialties, learning what a typical day for a physician looks like.
Q: You are passionate about women’s health and caring for underserved patients. What makes this area of medicine so fulfilling for you?
A: I became interested in family medicine at the University of Michigan after taking an elective class at a Detroit clinic that epitomized family medical care. I was able to see how a physician, nurses and social workers could do it all while serving the clinic’s many patients. I made it a point to look for residency programs that focused on underserved care provided at community health centers, and that’s how I ended up at the University of Texas at Houston. After graduation, I joined the Baylor College of Medicine faculty and was named Ben Taub Hospital’s Chief of Family Medicine for adult and maternity care where I stayed for 19 years, working to shape the Harris Health System, which owns and operates Ben Taub.
Q: Tell us why you chose to come to the UnitedHealthcare Alief Clinic.
A: This is a natural gravitation and fulfills a mission to provide a full spectrum of care and continuity of care to a large underserved population. With a doctor, nurse practitioner, nurses and social workers on staff, we can address complex medical and behavioral health needs, and we provide prenatal care, something unique to a family clinic.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being at the UnitedHealthcare Alief Clinic?
A: We take time to get to know each patient to identify his or her needs, spending 40 minutes with each patient. We also enjoy connecting with the community through our work with local schools, apartment complexes and community centers to help get the word out about what we do and the importance of preventative care.