New People's Health Clinic Medical Director Brings Years of Experience to Role
This week, Dr. Mairi Leining is taking on the role of medical director at the People's Health Clinic after the retirement of longtime PHC staffer John Hanrahan.
Leining worked on staff with the clinic for two years and comes from the Park City Hospital, where she led the intensive care unit and worked as a hospitalist. Leining said global health had been a longtime passion and her work at the Park City Hospital inspired her to make the move to the People's Health Clinic, which serves uninsured patients across Summit and Wasatch counties.
"I did work as a hospitalist for 15 years, the past eight at the Park City hospital where I really saw the impact of the People’s Health Clinic on the community, especially when I was taking care of uninsured members of the community that otherwise wouldn't have had follow-up,” she said. “And that reignited my interest in taking care of underserved populations. And so, two years ago, I made the decision to transition over to the People's Health Clinic full time, and I've never been more fulfilled as a provider."
Leining said Hanrahan provided the vision at the clinic's inception in 1999. She said the need for no-cost health care is essential in a resort-based community that relies on the working class to keep businesses running.
"We have to take into account that we have a migrant population both through the ski industry and also as undocumented residents come in and provide the working backbone of our community,” Leining said. “And they need to have a resource for basic healthcare, which wouldn't exist if it were not for Dr. Hanrahan's incredible insight. So, my job is easy from that standpoint that he has created this incredible infrastructure and framework over the past 22 years, and I get to come in and expand our programming to meet this growing need."
Hanrahan commended Leining's work establishing a diabetes program last year. He said the data on the diabetes patients is encouraging.
"We just got our first six months report on our metrics and our diabetic patients are doing dramatically better since we instituted a much more expanded program for diabetes,” Hanrahan said. “I think we will see her expand that kind of programming into other chronic diseases like hypertension and obesity, and hyperlipidemia. So I'm thrilled that she's coming on board and has this capacity and ability to really expand our programming and view it from a public health perspective."
Leining said there are social determinants of health, such as poverty and unemployment, that can cause chronic conditions.
"You'll end up seeing obesity from having decreased access to healthy foods, and increased blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease, increases in diabetes,” she said. “And so, for this population, in particular, it's critically important that we have good primary health care in place to help keep people out of the hospital."