“I came to NorthCountry Clinic because of its mission to provide care for everyone, regardless of social status, income or insurance; and its focus on community health. We see a broad spectrum of patients, from HSU professors to homeless individuals. With each person who walks through our door, we do our best to listen, respond to their concerns and provide high quality health care. I will always remember a homeless person with a severe psychiatric disorder saying to me, “Every time I come here, I feel like the ‘king of the day’.” That’s the way I want all of our patients to feel. NorthCountry Clinic has always focused on education. We want our patients to be full participants in their health care. We address the whole person with our case management, behavioral health services and medical care. NorthCountry Clinic serves as the buprenorphine (or Suboxone) treatment center for Arcata. Suboxone is an office-based treatment for opiods dependence, including heroin and medications such as methadone, Vicodin and Oxycotin. These medications all have value, but they can be abused. With this program we seek to reduce the chemical dependency and offer the patient the opportunity to redevelop their self esteem and self confidence; the vital emotional journey necessary to avoid relapse. Often with addiction people exist in two different worlds: their public persona with family or work; and their shadow life of addiction. To be successful in recovery there needs to be a conscious effort to overcome the shame, guilt, and other emotions that accompany addiction. We’re working together to create a foundation of self value to guide better choices in the future. Open Door also provides suboxone treatment at its Eureka and Del Norte clinics. I was a part of creating the Humboldt Community Breast Health Project because we needed something beyond medical care. As a doctor, there is only so much I can do. By creating partnerships, promoting healthy survivorship, and supporting each other, we increase our power to heal and enjoy life.”
Julie Ohnemus received her MD from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 1988. She joined NorthCountry Clinic in 1991 and is the clinic’s medical director as well as associate chief medical officer of Open Door Community Health Centers. Dr. Ohnemus has also been director of Open Door’s behavioral health and psychiatry programs. For more information about the Humboldt County Breast Health Project, please visit www.hcbhp.org.
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