“Seeing people band together during this pandemic has been incredible to witness. Any little gesture goes a long way and my colleagues, this company, and our community have really stepped up.” — Ryan Blanco, PA
Carbon Health: First off, thank you for all the work you and your fellow clinicians are doing during this crisis. Words can’t express how thankful we are to have you out there fighting for the health and safety of our patients every day.
Ryan Blanco: Thank you for the kind words.
CH: Walk me through your day. What has this experience been like for you? What have you learned as a medical provider during a pandemic?
RB: A majority, if not all, of my patients, right now are dealing with something coronavirus-related. I’m testing, on average, over fifty patients a day. In the midst of all this, I’ve learned the importance of having an adaptive mindset, collectivism, and communication. Our actions affect not only our lives but the lives of others around us. This is a time for growth, a time to learn from one another, and a time to step up to the plate and help out as much as possible.
CH: That’s so incredible. What has the patient’s response been like?
RB: A majority of patients have shown such great resilience and humility throughout all of this. They want to learn and do their part to protect themselves and those around them. Allowing them access to testing is so important because it impacts how they live and if they can work, or be around their loved ones. Every individual has a story and I find every story inspiring and a reminder of why I chose this profession.
CH: What keeps you motivated during extra-long days at the clinic?
RB: I have this opportunity to help individuals in need during a difficult time. I provide COVID-19 education and help my patients sift through all the misinformation floating around. At Carbon Health, I am able to provide testing where community resources are normally limited. My patients are grateful to have access to testing and I feel blessed knowing I am able to ease someone’s worries or pain.
CH: How has this crisis changed the way you look at healthcare?
RB: I see how important my role is now more than ever. I became a PA because I wanted to work as part of a team that is making a difference. Carbon Health provides me the platform to do this by allowing me to provide my patients with quality care using modern tech. I am proud of Carbon Health for going above and beyond and creating solutions in this pandemic. From expanding our virtual care platform to increasing access to testing, and now pop-up clinics — the sky’s the limit and I feel grateful to be part of this movement.
CH: What do you think the future of healthcare will look like once this has passed?
RB: I believe we will continue to see a tremendous growth in virtual medicine and more utilization of modern tech to provide access to care. It’s hard to imagine there won’t be reformatting and rethinking of how the healthcare system is run in the United States. Modern technology is going to be integral to bridging the gap between healthcare professionals and the community.
CH: What drew you to a career in healthcare?
RB: I grew up in Queens, New York, and I’m one of nine kids. My father immigrated to the United States from Colombia and my mother is from the Philippines. I moved to Miami in my early teens shortly after my father lost his job due to the events of 9/11. Growing up, we didn’t have much and I experienced first hand the difficulties of accessing basic healthcare services. These challenges were the catalysts to me pursuing a career in medicine.
CH: Where did you go to school?
RB: I finished my undergraduate studies at the University of Miami and obtained my Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Practice at the University of Southern California. I wanted a career that would provide me with the skill set to help others in need. I wanted a career where I was constantly learning and growing as an individual. In addition, I wanted to be part of the solution to breaking down barriers in healthcare.
CH: What attracted you to Carbon Health?
RB: Carbon Health has increased access to care in a time when a majority of clinics were closing down and refusing to see patients due to COVID-19. It is an honor to be a part of such an impactful company. I have an amazing team and I can rely on each team member day in and out. I can’t wait to see where Carbon takes me and what innovations they come up with next.
CH: So when you’re not out on the frontlines being an everyday hero, what activities do you enjoy?
RB: I enjoy the outdoors; hiking, laying on the beach, working out, or even having a picnic with family and friends. I feel blessed to live in Southern California where we have such incredible weather.
CH: What’s one thing you want your patients to take away after visiting you at Carbon Health?
RB: I just want people to remember it’s okay to ask for help. We’re in difficult times and there’s so much we want to do and change but can’t just yet. It’s important for people to take time for themselves and prioritize their well-being. Focus on things you can change and focus on positive thoughts. Practice self-care but also support people around you. We are all fighting the same fight.