In the last year we have seen poor and minority communities killed disproportionately by Coronavirus, and we have seen white communities post a disproportionate number of BLM lawn signs. These issues have an obvious intersection, and with the Covid vaccine, we can act there today! But are we doing it? Do we know how?

I’m a family doctor for ten thousand people of color in poor neighborhoods east of Denver, Colorado. That’s all I’ve done for the last decade, including almost a year of Coronavirus tests, treatments, deaths, and now shots.

When the vaccine arrived a month ago, my clinic…

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33–34)

Until they have lived with you for 7 years. Then stop giving them food and medical assistance.

At least that is how I understand it. I am family doctor for ten thousand refugees who have resettled to the Denver, Colorado area. In 10 years of doing this work, I have learned a few things about the process.

Warning: This writeup is about a specific…

A friend forwarded me this local CBS story last week:

This place borders between one of the area’s richest neighborhoods — Stapleton, now called Central Park — and one of the poorest — Aurora’s East Colfax, where I work.

This story caught my attention because this is my running route, and I have often seen brown people other than myself under this bridge. While running I muse over the massive wealth disparity on both sides of Montview. …

One evening this March I arrived to find a police officer parked in the garage of a building I own and where I do some of my work. I am a family doctor for refugees in Aurora, Colorado. I stopped as soon as I saw his car, and honked to get his attention. He jumped out of his car, ran to mine, and pointed his gun at my head. He didn’t believe when I told him I owned the building. He was white, and I am brown, from India. I believe his treatment of me was influenced by my color…

I am brown. I am an Eagle Scout.

I earned my Eagle Scout before I became a citizen of the United States.

I then worked for the Boy Scouts of America for a dozen summers, during which my image was used in promotional material a dozen times. Since then I have run a Scout Troop for refugees, which has been covered by the media more than a dozen times. We all know why: The BSA is mostly a rich white conservative straight male organization. This is a problem in the era of BLM and the related equality movement. …

Having done 700 tests on resettled refugees, we can now run some statistics.

As we understand, 700 tests in one clinic is relatively high for one location in this country, especially a private practice (not a hospital or government clinic). We will be at 1000 in a few weeks. A few weeks ago we were testing a few dozen a day, and are now around 20 a day. If one is not familiar with our clinic, we see 100% resettled refugees.

We are now at 33% positive of all tests, since starting testing two months ago. We were at 60%…

For Coronavirus anyway.

Apparently we can now get paid for seeing uninsured people, by Medicare, for visits related to Coronavirus. This is good because we are busier than ever with Corona, including with a much higher percent of uninsured people than pre-pandemic. Many of these additional patients are workers who make too much for Medicaid, but need testing for their workplaces.

This is the first time I can think of insurance coverage for 100% of the people in this country, even if just for one diagnosis. And this is insurance coverage with zero copays, coinsurance, or deductible. …

“If she was my mom, I would take her to the hospital.”

I said in the parking lot, to a refugee family from South Asia, through their car window. The patient in the back looked like my mom. She was comfortable, but had a sat of 84% and heart rate of 110. I also knew she had diabetes and lived in a dense apartment. She and her extended family had been my patients for years, since they arrived in the country.

The patient’s daughter was in the front, and grandson was driving. What I didn’t tell them was “Spend an…

We have a 60% positive test rate at our refugee clinic. That was 3/31/20 when I originally wrote this post. Scroll to the end for updates.

Of course we have a high positive rate!

Poor people need their jobs. When we tell them to stay home, some of them return to work anyway. Guess who is making your food at the airport or packing your meat? And they live in dense housing. When you are paying $1,800 for a 2 bedroom on East Colfax, you are going to have 8 people in there, 4 sleeping on mats on the living…

This is what it looks like to have police point a gun at your head. Photo credit: me, as gun was pointed at my head. The gun has a flashlight.

Sunday March 1, 2020 evening, as I was moving Boy Scout gear from the newer Mango House to the old one, I came around the corner in the old one, and there was a police parked in my parking garage, blocking my way. I came around the corner, saw him, and stopped immediately— I could not have stopped further away unless I could see through walls. I honked to get his attention so he wasn’t surprised.

He jumped out of his car, swore at me, and pulled out his gun while running to my car. I heard a clickety click…

P.J! Parmar

Social justice efforts of a family doc, scoutmaster, and social worker for refugees. Popping bubbles since 2012. www.1532galena.com, www.ardasclinic.com.

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