When Dr. Jumee Barooah thinks about medicine, the most important thing that comes to mind is a person's humanity.
"The patient is the center," she said. "That is what the profession is about. A good physician treats the disease, a great physician treats the person with the disease."
She is the recently appointed Designated Institutional Official (DIO) of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education (TWCGME) and has been a longtime, fervent advocate for the Patient-Centered Medical Home model, which aims to immerse up-and-coming doctors in practices in northeast Pennsylvania, such as the various locations of The Wright Center for Community Health (TWCCH), that have evolved to integrate service lines such as primary care, dental and behavioral health. These practices have transformed to allow physicians and care teams to treat the whole person under one roof.
"I believe it fosters stronger communication and helps us better understand each other so that we can deliver quality care," Barooah explained.
In collaboration with the Graduate Medical Education Committee, as DIO, she has the authority and responsibility for the oversight, administration and accountability of all of TWCGME's sponsoring institutional operations, residency and fellowship programs – both regionally and nationally – as well as the integrated interprofessional clinical affiliations with local hospitals. She is responsible for assuring compliance with the highest accreditation standards and negotiates and ensures compliance with affiliations between TWCGME and partnering academic institutions of higher learning. She also oversees the organizational Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER), which provides a road map to standardizing and optimizing the quality and safety of all clinical learning venues.
Barooah's DIO designation secures her a key leadership role on the executive management team to ensure educational resources are well-stewarded so that the organization is sustainable and upholds its fiduciary responsibility to learners, patients, employees and partnering organizations and stakeholders.
For years, she has provided quality medical services to all sections of the community, especially patients with limited resources, ensuring they receive excellent care no matter their socioeconomic status. Together with interprofessional partners, Barooah has been pioneering effective care for those affected by Substance Use Disorder at TWCCH, earning the nonprofit recognition as a leading Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence.
She has worked to increase public knowledge and participation in combating common health care problems, including cardiovascular disease, through the annual Caring Hearts symposium. She also supports St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen and donates to school backpack and winter coat drives every year.
A graduate of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Barooah was an internal medicine provider at the North East Indira Gandhi Institute of Health and Medical Sciences before relocating to the United States. She completed her internal medicine residency at TWCGME and is dually board-certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine. She served as a provider at TWCCH's Mid Valley Practice and was promoted to medical director there in 2016, and also was associate program director of the internal medicine residency program.
She is proud to call Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak her teacher, mentor and friend.
"She believed in me through the years and has helped in every aspect of my professional and personal life," Barooah said.
She also is grateful to her parents for instilling the principles of honesty, sincerity, hard work, humility and kindness at an early age, and to her family, including her spouse, Dr. Pranjal Boruah, and children, who supported her during times when things weren't easy for them.
After Barooah's father passed away when she was very young, her mother and family members became her source of courage while growing up in difficult times.
"They never let me feel alone and encouraged me to aim for the sky while not forgetting our roots," she shared.
Barooah was a key leader in working with community partners to establish the Healthy MOMS (Maternal Opiate Medical Support) program, which embraces one of the most vulnerable populations facing addiction: pregnant women.
She is a proponent of the value in using medication-assisted treatment to combat substance use disorders, and in particular, strongly advocates for the Healthy MOMS program. To that end, she has testified before members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives about the urgency of utilizing proven methods to fight the opioid epidemic.