top-doctors:-dr.-richard-usatine-–-san-antonio-magazine
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Top Doctors: Dr. Richard Usatine – San Antonio Magazine

Compassion is often what drives students to pursue medicine, but UT Health San Antonio professor Dr. Richard Usatine says amid the stress of long hours, tests and clinical rotations, that original motivation can sometimes get lost. That’s where the school’s community clinics come in.

Usatine and other professors work with medical students in free clinics serving homeless people, refugees, LGBTQ individuals, women recovering from addiction and others in hopes of not only honing their students’ diagnosis and treatment skills but also their humanity. “We want them to hold onto their compassion dearly and use it throughout their medical careers,” Usatine says.

It’s something Usatine honed his passion for while working as part of the National Health Service Corps in California after finishing his residency. He later completed a fellowship in medical education and became the medical director for the student-run homeless clinic at UCLA. He moved to San Antonio in 2003 and helped to open UT Healt San Antonio’s first free clinic in 2005, where he continues to serve with and train students. “I went into medicine because I could make a difference and work for social justice,” says Usatine, who has also authored 10 books and is the founding director of the Skin Clinic at University Health System and program director for the Underserved Family Medicine Dermatology Fellowship Program.

With all of the attention paid to the opioid crisis in recent years, Usatine says it’s easy to forget that those battling addiction—like the women they treat at the Alpha Home every Monday evening—are also mothers who want better lives for their children or young women looking for a fresh start. “The women are very grateful,” he says. “They’re often at the lowest point in their lives and have often neglected their health care so they come to us for help.”

In appreciation for his work, Alpha Home in 2016 named its clinic the Usatine Wellness Center. “I feel very honored,” he says. “I love my work there and I love working with the students. It’s just tremendously rewarding.”

Find a full list of the top doctors in San Antonio here.

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