"In today's society, we've lost having a doctor," says Dr. Michelle Plaster. "We want people to know they have a doctor. We want to keep them out of the emergency room or the minute clinics."
Our Family Health Center, located on North Cherokee Road, has vigorously worked to live up to those very standards since its inception in 2008.
Plaster believes the clinic's focus on the community is its biggest strength; by going out to the community, providing health screenings and preventative measures to prevent a strenuous trip to the hospital.
"By the time patients get to us, they're already sick," said Plaster. "We try to take ownership of our patients, to treat them like we would treat our family. We don't want people to wait for healthcare."
Plaster's vision for the clinic is to be a one-stop-shop for patients. To facilitate that vision, satellite physicians often visit the practice. In addition to Plaster serving as a full-time physician with Dr. Craig Colby, these visiting physicians vary in their specialties: pulmonologists, podiatrists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, massage therapists, dietitians, gastroenterologist, and even acupuncturists. There are at least eight physicians on the premises at any given day.
"The advantage to having these physicians working closely like this is that we all talk to each other," said Plaster. "Here, we are referring you to doctors who visit this facility ... and we put our heads together to make sure a patient is getting what they need."
Plaster was recruited by Walton Regional Medical Center to begin a clinic in Social Circle. Coming from a small town in Chicago, Plaster felt right at home in the area, allowing her to become the community medicine doctor she envisioned. Soon, the clinic was heading to churches, high schools and health fairs and screenings.
"Social Circle is a great place to do this kind of thing," said Plaster. "It's not like Atlanta. If you have an event here, everybody in the community attends."
The clinic will be at the annual Friendship Festival on Oct. 1, where they will be administering flu shots and performing blood/sugar and blood pressure tests. The festival will have a healthcare focus and will feature the physicians of Our Family Health Center in the parade.