Local doctor speaks on fighting the COVID pandemic and the importance of diversity in medicine

Local doctor speaks on fighting the COVID pandemic and the importance of diversity in medicine

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Like many others in the medical field, Dr. Joseph Gallien has seen the severity of the coronavirus firsthand.

“We’ve never seen anything like this. So, for the medical world, this was something that hit us and it hit us really hard, especially being in New York,” Gallien said.

He was completing his residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital when COVID cases we’re soaring in New York City.

“We were really not prepared for it but we tried to prepare as best as we could,” he said.

But, he’s also experienced the virus himself, and was even hospitalized. Now, the Southwest Louisiana native is an attending physician at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.

He says the knowledge he gained in New York is priceless, and will hugely benefit him in this next chapter.

“I think that definitely has helped me overall to come down here and to not only have that experience but, be able to share it with my colleagues that I have here,” Gallien said.

The pandemic continues to make headlines, as does another topic, a cry for social justice and equality, something Gallien says is very close to his heart.

As a first generation college student, he says it’s important for young Black children, especially boys, to have positive examples.

“One of the biggest things is visibility. Even for myself growing up, I didn’t have that visibility of another Black physician that I could look up to as a role model.”

Dr. Gallien says he wants to be that role model for others, and says as our country moves toward equality, he hopes to see a shift in medicine as well.

”It’s me doing it because I want to better us all,” he said. “Including my family, but also friends around me, and the younger group of black men that are coming up and let them know that it is possible.”

Dr. Gallien says he is most excited to be back home closer to family and friends, and to begin making an impact in the community.

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