Elizabeth Perry, MD, a clinical assistant professor in the UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) and medical director at the UW Health Fitchburg Clinic, loves family medicine because it teaches her something new every single day.
In clinic, she provides expert care for a diverse patient population that spans generations, ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Excited by the breadth and depth of her work, she routinely confirms evidence and explores questions in close partnership with her patients.
“Patient-doctor interaction is where so much learning can happen,” she says, noting that completing a certification course on motivational interviewing has helped her become even more mindful of how to listen, reflect, and guide based on patient perceptions.
In fact, she’s received three UW Health Patient Experience Physician Champion Awards for her outstanding communication skills, as recognized by patients through survey data.
Roots in Care for the Underserved
Dr. Perry came to UW Health in 2009 after practicing for four years as the clinical chief physician at Excelsior Clinic, a busy urban Latino health clinic in San Francisco. Before that, she was a family physician at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico.
“I had been working hard serving underserved people who had varied cultural ideas about doctors and health,” she reflects. “When patients made it to clinic, I treated them and their families, addressing a variety of issues as decisively as possible, because I didn’t know when they would be able to come back. There was very little time for preventive health or for thinking about how we delivered health care.”
She welcomes the opportunities she has now to help improve patient care, affirming that UW Health programs on complex case management, primary care redesign and microsystems improvement have benefited all of her patients in tangible ways.
“I am grateful to be a part of a community of providers who always want to do a better job for their patients,” she says.
An Emerging Leader
Further demonstrating her commitment to lifelong learning, Dr. Perry is also a DFMCH faculty coach for the WeTalk program, which teaches physicians how to have difficult conversations with patients—techniques she uses every day in her practice.
She’s also completed three courses on pain management, and serves as one of two physician champions for the UW Health Collaborative Care Integration pilot, which is testing ways to provide behavioral health services in primary care.
In addition, she recently joined Primary Care Academics Transforming Healthcare (PATH) collaborative, which bridges primary care clinical transformation and rigorous scientific study in order to improve our health system.
To round out her service activities, she is a member of the UW Health Professional Conduct Committee and chair of the UW Health Root Cause Analysis committee.
“All aspects of my work feel stimulating and rewarding,” she says. “I am grateful to have solid grounding in patient care, and also to explore the diverse leadership opportunities UW Health has made possible.”
Thank you, Dr. Perry, for being a model of excellence!
Published: September 2017