Dr. Greg Guffanti — “Dr. Greg” as he’s known to his patients — says he meandered into medicine after realizing he didn’t like the bench work of being a chemist.
He recalls a formative experience from his time with AmeriCorps working in a geriatric clinic in Berkeley California:
“I met many wonderful staff that attended to the health and lives of these quirky east-bay seniors. I can still remember one of the geriatricians examining this lady’s swollen legs. She stooped down, removed these woolen socks to reveal purple, bumpy skin stretched taut, extending from her ankles to her knees. I was taken aback but the physician touched her skin with care and purpose. I don’t remember what was said, but the connection between physician and patient stayed with me. I thought ‘I’d like to be able to do that.’”
Dr. Greg says helping assuage his patients’ fears is the most rewarding part of his job. This most frequently happens when he’s able help a patient understand their health and navigate the complex health care system.
We asked Dr. Greg what it’s like to be a healthcare provider during this unique time in history.
He says that initially he was worried about the possibility of accidentally harming his patients, staff, or family by spreading COVID-19:
“There was a lot of fear and a lot of unknowns that swirled through the clinic, the news, and even my own household.”
That all changed once pandemic realities set in, he says:
“There was always something new popping up: how to test, how to vaccinate. At present I’m focusing on how to solidify our institutional and my personal learning from all the adapting and workflow changes.”
What inspires him?
“I take bits of inspiration in the strength and resilience I see in the staff I work with, my patients, and my family. It’s often something small like a kind gesture or a moment of vulnerability.”
“Looking west down the Columbia River Gorge from Wind Mountain, Washington is pretty good too,” he added.