Monday, April 27, 2009

Dr. Larry Heath Brings Wealth of Experience to Gainesville Practice

In an age of ever-increasing health care specialization, Dr. Larry Heath of Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas is a renaissance man. Rather than focusing on a narrow specialty, he tries to get a broader sense of each of his patients. This holistic approach is a result of long experience and diverse training in internal medicine, emergency room care, urgent care and infectious diseases.

He said, “My medical background is simple: taking care of patients. I like to see a spread of different types of cases and people.”

In a single day, Dr. Heath may see a senior citizen with diabetes, a working mother with abdominal pain and a young man with persistent headaches. How is he able to diagnose and treat such a variety of people and problems?
“That’s what makes internal medicine so exciting and challenging. You handle so many different issues. You really need a breadth of experience.

“Outpatient care is all about problem-solving,” said Dr. Heath. “If you listen, your patients will always tell you what the problem is. Even if what they say sounds confused, there are clues there.”

When asked about doctors not having enough time to listen and talk to patients, he shrugged and offered an upbeat smile, “They’re right. There isn’t enough time. But you do it anyway. Empathy is the greatest word in the English language. You use your own experience to understand where they’re coming from.”

Dr. Heath is pleased to be working in Gainesville. “People in this community are great. They listen, they engage, they want the help. As an internist, I like to deliver a high percentage of services myself, without referring out to specialists any more than necessary.”

Dr. Heath is not just a well-rounded physician, he’s a well-rounded citizen. He has not only served on, chaired and directed various medical boards and committees, but he has also served as a trustee for retirement plans, a town board supervisor, a town economic growth committee member, and a youth hockey association board member. For Dr. Heath, it’s not just about medicine, it’s about the whole person and the whole community.

Dr. Heath earned his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at Stanford University and his doctor of medicine degree at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. Before joining the new practice in Gainesville, he had varied and interesting experiences in healthcare. He did emergency room work and was the director of Emergency Services for the San Joaquin General Hospital near Stockton, California. During that time, he also had a consultative practice in infectious diseases and taught clinical medicine at the hospital. He has spent time with Care-Medico in Kabul, Afghanistan working as a volunteer specialist at Jamhouriat Hospital.

He then went into private practice in Lodi, California for 12 years before moving his family to Wisconsin where he worked for almost 17 years at the Marshfield Clinic.

Dr. Heath has also had a long interest in teaching. He was an adjunct professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California; clinical instructor for the Family Practice Program, University of California (Davis) School of Medicine; attending ward physician for the Internal Medicine Resident
Teaching Service at the Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, Wisconsin; and director of the Transitional Resident Program in Urgent Care at the Marshfield Clinic.

Continuing his volunteer work, Dr. Heath has worked at the Fauquier Free Clinic on a regular basis since he moved to Virginia last year. “I saw about a dozen patients just this morning. There are a lot of sick people who can’t afford health care. It’s sort of like a mini-war zone in the health care system.”

In Wisconsin, Dr. Heath and his wife, Jeanette, created a foundation at the Marshfield Clinic to help fund treatment for people from third-world countries who need specialized care. “It was something that grew out of my travels to other countries, where many kinds of potentially curative medical interventions are just not available to people.”

Larry Heath, M.D.
Internal Medicine
Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas
7915 Lake Manassas Drive, Suite 101
Gainesville, Virginia 20155

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