Helping broaden horizons and improve health in the Black community

Helping others live their healthiest lives possible has included a focus on improving access to health care in disadvantaged communities.

Steven Patton, D.O., was born in a small town in Michigan where role models in the medical field were few and far between. While achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a physician, he witnessed the struggles of others around him. They tried to find their way without positive mentorship. Observing a cyclical lack of opportunity helped sharpen his resolve to give back to underserved communities and create pathways to success for people of all backgrounds.

“I remember returning home to speak at a career fair a few years ago and meeting a little boy who couldn’t believe that people from our community could be a doctor,” said Dr. Patton, a family medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Preston. “Later on, I came to realize that everyone doesn’t have a limitless mindset. A lot of times people don’t think success is possible, so they don’t set high goals for themselves. It’s important to give people options and empower them to have a full understanding of the potential they possess.”

Trying to be the change

In addition to helping young people reach their full potential, Dr. Patton is driven to help others live their healthiest lives possible. Part of this battle is improving access to health care in disadvantaged communities such as West Louisville.

“Achieving this goal requires gaining trust of the community. If you don’t know you need something, you won’t ask for it,” Dr. Patton said.

Dr. Patton has represented Norton Healthcare in a partnership with Alpha Media to launch Get Healthy 502 with Norton Healthcare. This program engages the community through monthly education sessions and screenings focused on a particular wellness topic. To date the campaign has provided prostate screenings and information, guidance on the importance of a primary care provider and a focus on heart disease.

Primary care is the first step

Having a primary care provider who is in touch with your health and your needs is the first step to heading off serious illness.

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“Providing resources to the public through this campaign is important, but it’s also about consistency,” Dr. Patton said. “I just want to show the people that their health isn’t just something we’re checking off a list. We’re there and we’re going to continue to be there to answer the questions that were never asked.”

Dr. Patton also has worked to improve COVID-19 vaccine outreach to the Black community by partnering with local organizations to facilitate podcasts and live Q&A forums. This alliance has worked to provide information with honesty, transparency and empathy. Efforts have been driven partly by an increased risk of severe COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy given a dark history of medical mistreatment.

“If you’re looking to make a difference in the community, do what your heart feels,” Dr. Patton said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s one person or millions; try to be that change.”

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