Mario Paredes, Somos Community Care, Papa Francisco

Caring for Those Who Care for Us – The Global Campaign “Thank You, Doctor!” is Born

Address by Dr. Mario Paredes, Chief Executive Officer of SOMOS Community Care, during the press conference for the launch of the worldwide initiative “Thank You, Doctor!” on the 16th of November in Vatican City.

Without the doctors who care and treat us, we would not be here today. Without family physicians, so many people in the world could not survive. The purpose of the campaign we are presenting today is precisely to thank the primary care physician for his or her role, existence, mission and value.

This campaign, “Thank You, Doctor!” aims to enhance the humanizing role played in the health care system and society by the general practitioner, also known as the family doctor in other parts of the world.

Their workload is enormous. In most countries, family physicians have to take care of a disproportionate number of patients, jeopardizing the quality of the doctor-patient relationship. In addition, health systems often fail to adequately recognize their contribution to society, imposing unseemly salaries on them in exchange for endless working hours.

The “Thank You, Doctor!” campaign, an initiative of the nonprofit medical association SOMOS Community Care of New York, was launched with the support of institutions, associations and organizations such as the Pontifical Academy for Life, medical associations of Italy, Catholic doctors, hospitals, medical schools, patient associations and interfaith organizations.

The role of the primary care physician in the health care system and society is essential for 4 reasons:

  • Health system access point: The primary care physician is often the first person patients turn to when they have health problems. He or she acts as an access point to the health care system and orients patients, guiding them through the network of medical specialties and services.
  • Comprehensive and continuous care: family physicians are trained to treat a wide range of health problems, enabling them to care for patients of all ages and conditions, from acute problems to chronic diseases. They often establish long-term relationships with patients, getting to know their medical history and life context in depth. This trusting relationship facilitates more personalized and effective care.
  • Prevention and education: Primary care physicians play a key role in health promotion and disease prevention. Through regular checkups, screening tests and advice on healthy lifestyles, they help prevent health problems or detect them in the early stages, when they are most treatable.
  • Efficiency and cost reduction: By managing a wide range of health problems, the primary care physician can reduce the need for costly visits to specialists or unnecessary tests. In addition, by focusing on prevention and early detection, it can help avoid complications that require more intensive and costly treatments in the future.

As Msgr. Paglia wisely reminded us, Jesus is a landmark in the healing of the human being, and today the primary care physician is a central figure in the medical care and humanization of every society.

This global campaign seeks to highlight the physician’s role in appreciating and valuing his or her beneficial impact on society as a whole.