I had the great privilege of working alongside the clinicians and staff members of the UC Irvine CADC clinic during the summer of 2009. At the CADC, I observed teams that worked hard to deliver the correct diagnosis and the best care to every single patient. Over the course of a couple of appointments, the team extracts information from their neurological exam, brain imaging, and their neuropsychological tests, in order to meticulously formulate their diagnosis. The team then puts together a comprehensive written report of the patient's results and provides extensive explanations for the agreed-upon diagnosis and the subsequent treatment plan. As I observed the clinic team go about their work, I was amazed at how efficiently their diagnostic process was, and was likewise inspired by the dedication of each person at the office. In all my weeks at the clinic, it was clear that the focus was always the patient. There is no excess- images are only taken if absolutely necessary, exam room space is extremely limited, and lunch is usually a quick bite at the desk. Each and every single employee takes painstaking consideration into their work and deliver the most they can in every way they can. From offering support groups for caregivers and patients, to providing question and answer sessions for patients and their loved ones, to arranging access to community resources and information - their work continuously reminded me that the patient was always the center of attention. I am so grateful that I able to work at the UC Irvine CADC clinic because it showed me how medicine should be practiced - with the utmost care, with the patients' needs driving every action. Moreover, I learned that the mini-mental status exam is not a specific tool. Comprehensive exams like the ones conducted at the UC Irvine CADC clinic are absolutely necessary when diagnosing neurological disorders because it can drastically change patient outcomes. There is a great need for more research in elderly dementia because it can be so easily overlooked or misdiagnosed. To slow down the work of this clinic has forged, would be a great detriment to the current and future aging population of our communities.
- Wonita Youm, a second year UC Irvine medical student