Rick Altice on the challenges of correctional care (and related matters)

When I was a doctoral student, I wrote a desk-jockey dissertation. I analyzed a gigantic dataset to examine informal economic transfers within low-income families. Then I took a Yale postdoc. One of the first people I met there was Dr. Frederick Altice, who was a key investigator and clinician providing care to HIV-infected prisoners and drug users at the community health care van, a needle-exchange-based health services targeting street drug users. This was the mid-1990s and New Haven was an epicenter for HIV among drug users. It was a pretty awful time for the city. At least New Haven had intrepid people like Rick who worked to limit the public health harms and the human suffering.

One of my first times out, a woman stepped on the van to get some care. She was a sex worker and a person who injected drugs. Within the close quarters of that van, many of the other people waiting gave her a little extra room. She was very grimy, probably homeless.  Rick called her over. He pulled out an apple, and split it with his penknife. He handed her one piece, and said, “Why don’t you share this with me?”  As they ate together, he conducted a beautiful clinical interview that explored her incredible range of serious health problems.

I interviewed Rick today at Wonkblog. We talked about a range of pertinent issues in correctional care. If anything, Rick understates the challenge. Connecticut is quite unusual in providing generous Medicaid to many low-income adults who would be uninsured in other states. 

More here.

Comments

  1. Jamie says

    That’s a wonderful story.

    I went to college about 30 miles from Newhaven and haven’t been back since then. I remember how ugly the college-towney thing was, and retroactively know how clueless I was about it.

    Not having any particular affection for my school, (and, frankly, becoming increasingly annoyed that the cost now would have excluded me then) I gave to a community college this year. The school did well by a relative, and as best I can tell actually tries to be a public service.