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“There is a trust factor when a patient knows you. That’s why building relationships is so important.”
Physician assistant Breanna Mesa loves to talk about healthy food choices and exercise. That’s because she knows the power of a healthy lifestyle. “When I was growing up, my grandmother had a lot of chronic conditions,” explained Breanna. “I would go with her to doctors’ appointments, and I learned that chronic diseases are caused in part by lifestyle choices. That inspired me to become a medical provider, to educate patients about preventive care and to help patients stay healthy and active.”
Breanna takes a three-step approach to disease prevention. The first step is educating patients about vaccines and screenings. The second step is ordering blood work or other tests when patients are showing symptoms, then suggesting lifestyle changes as needed. The third step would be to prescribe medication because a patient’s disease has progressed. The medication is in addition to the suggested lifestyle changes to help mitigate symptoms. “The more we can nip things in the bud before a patient gets sick, the better,” said Breanna.
Importantly, Breanna takes the time to ensure that her patients fully understand their health status. “If you talk to people in medical terms, sometimes they’ll nod and pretend to understand. Perhaps they think they’ll research their problem later on their computer. I make sure to explain things fully so that they leave knowing where things stand and what to do.”
She credits her countless volunteer experiences, including one at a mobile clinic in Peru, that helped to hone her communications skills. “You travel to underprivileged countries and visit villages where English is not the first language,” she said. “Yet you need to teach basic hygiene or give antibiotics to sick people. It was an amazing experience and one that helps remind me every day how fortunate we are to have access to good medical care in our country.”
When she’s not working, Breanna enjoys spending time with her Cavachon puppy named Ryleigh. She is an avid traveler and recently spent time in Spain, France, Greece and Italy.