Patricia's Story: Calming Fears, Offering Hope
When hope seems in short supply, it’s good to be reminded of people like Patricia Tousel. As a patient navigator with the MetroHealth Cancer Center, her responsibilities are many. But really, the role can be characterized in two words: trust builder.
“This is not just a job,” says Patricia, a native of Venezuela. “At the end of the day, I feel good about what I do. I am supporting my community.”
Patricia’s role is largely focused on promoting the importance of mammograms in the Hispanic community – not through fear or guilt but a heavy dose of humanity.
In fact, that’s the anchoring philosophy of MetroHealth’s BREAST/Amigas program, which provides screenings and culturally sensitive community outreach about breast cancer. The mission is the program’s name: Bringing Education, Advocacy and Support Together, from Friends.
A Hispanic woman living in the United States has a 1-in-10 chance of developing breast cancer.
“They trust us because we are present,” Patricia says.
Often, Patricia serves as the bridge for any sort of language barrier. She calms concerns about insurance status or patient confidentiality, especially among the undocumented community. She promises them she will be there at intake for their screenings. Most important, she listens.
Then there’s the most common question: What if they find something?
“We will take care you,” Patricia says. “That’s what I tell them.”
Patricia understands that fear. Her husband, John, and daughter, Julia, are cancer survivors.
“As a caregiver, I’ve seen what it’s like for someone you love to go through a cancer diagnosis,” she says. “Sometimes you need that extra support, and that’s what we do here.”
This profile is part of Faces of MetroHealth, an ongoing series of profiles of individuals from all levels of the organization who embody our mission and values. To learn more about the MetroHealth Center for Breast Health and screening guidelines, visit metrohealth.org/breast-health.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.