Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Specialized Care for Our Most Vulnerable

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Specialized Care for Our Most Vulnerable

Article excerpt

Dr. James Powell of the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) believes that colleges and universities need to start mandating standardized classes to provide better care to our special needs community and get students out there and involved.

As the political debate over revamping health care in the United States drones on in Washington DC, the practical delivery of medical service goes on in the trenches. In the forefront of this effort with demonstrated results is the Long Island based Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI). Licensed by the State of New York Department of Health, DDI offers Opti-Healthcare to more than 5,000 patients. This full-service health clinic is specially geared to serving the unique needs of children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities.

Opti-Healthcare's network of diagnostic and treatment centers was designed and developed by DDI to specifically address the special medical, dental and therapeutic needs of children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. With three full-time centers, one in Riverhead and two in Smithtown, as well as a part-time extension clinic in Manorville, Opti's comprehensive scope of specialties include: general medicine, psychiatry, dentistry, neurology, dermatology, allergy, optometry, psychology, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and others.

Dr. James Powell, a Board Certified Internist, has been the Medical Director of Developmental Disabilities Institute and Opti-Healthcare for the past nine years. He provides primary care and oversees the operations of their four healthcare centers throughout Suffolk County. In addition, Dr. Powell is a Clinical Instructor for the Department of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and a Board Member of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.

"I am proud to be a part of the health care team at Opti-Healthcare," stated Dr. Powell. "The years I have spent with this agency have not only helped me become a better physician, but helped me grow into a better person. Our approach is not just about treating individual patients but also about improving the care of the entire population. I have realized that improving care must first start from within me. I teach my students and staff to use deliberate practice to look outside them and critically evaluate each patient interaction. Each patient interaction is a learning experience if you allow it to be one."

Dr. Powell's brother-in-law, Seth, has been a patient of Opti-Healthcare for the past 15 years. After being deprived of oxygen at birth, Seth now suffers long-term effects. "I credit Seth for fueling the passion I have for my position. I was fortunate enough to see first hand what good quality care can do for individuals in need," commented Dr. Powell. "I knew when I became Medical Director I was going to be a part of something special and I was excited for the challenges that lay ahead."

"I love coming here," stated Seth. "They help me out with anything that I feel I need help with. The staff here, every one of them, has a great deal of compassion, wisdom and every time I need something I can call and get everything I need here."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 50 million Americans, or one in five people, are living with at least one disability. Many individuals with disabilities have complex health care needs that may require frequent medical contacts. …

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