Local doctors dedicate their free time to helping underserved communities

Each year, Kaiser Permanente recognizes employees and physicians who champion outstanding volunteer work that improves community health through the David Lawrence Community Service Award. Each award winner receives a $10,000 charitable contribution to give to the nonprofit organization of their choice.

Kaiser Permanente Washington is proud to announce 2 Washington award winners for the 2018 award: Jennifer Hoock, MD, and David Slack, MD.

Jennifer Hoock, MD

“Part of my responsibility is to help make the world a better place,” says Dr. Hoock, family medicine physician at the Capitol Hill Medical Campus. “I am grateful for the opportunity to share this work with extremely dedicated people; from Kaiser Permanente co-workers, to the Seattle community organizations that we serve, and our partners abroad who entrust us with the only thing the can truly call their own — their health.”

Dr. Hoock will contribute her award to Guatemala Village Health (GVH) to support its permaculture food cultivation project, which fights malnutrition in rural Mayan villages. In 2010, she co-founded GVH with a group of family medicine doctors, nurses, residents, health educators, and engineers. GVH has reached more than 10,000 patients, with a mission to improve health in Guatemalan rural villages through clinical care, health education, health worker training, and public health projects.

Dr. Hoock also helps support vulnerable populations in Washington. Through her work with Kaiser Permanente Washington family medicine residency program, several residents join GVH missions and use their learnings to care for homeless youth at YouthCare’s Orion Center in Seattle.

David Slack, MD

Fellow honoree Dr. Slack, hospice and palliative care physician at Olympia Medical Center, says, “When I walk out to visit a patient and their family in the hills of Rwanda, I regard those folks (often living in the most destitute of conditions) just as much a part of my community as the homeless individuals I’ve met working in Olympia or the patients and families I care for at KP.”

Dr. Slack will contribute his award to Hospice Without Borders (HWB), the nonprofit he co-founded in 2010 with co-worker Angela Lee, RN, to serve marginalized, traumatized, and vulnerable populations in Rwanda. HWB improves thousands of Rwandan lives by providing home hospice and palliative care services, creating a home-based practitioner program, and establishing bereavement support. To date, HWB’s practitioner program has trained over 100 clinicians who work in 9 districts. HWB also created workshops in Burundi and plans to expand to other African countries.

Additionally, Dr. Slack developed a homeless hospice and palliative care shelter outreach facility in Olympia, where he regularly cooks dinner and speaks to locals to better understand their challenges and needs.

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