While reflecting on the question Langston Hughes asked years ago, “what happens to a dream deferred,” I knew that in my current role and serving the people my agency serves, we could never discover the answer to that question. Instead, we had to become a catalyst for dreams realized.
Dreamers dream out of necessity and desire. They understand challenges but hope for an eventual change and better days for those they serve. And while many of our region’s people and vulnerable communities were dreaming about deferments, we were planning and executing to make their dreams a reality.
We must continue to meet our region’s people in their hearts, minds, and communities. That’s why we’re continuing to build relationships in each parish and community so that we can do two things: understand the need (which is their nightmare) and offer lifesaving services (which is their dream fulfilled).
We are determined to meet people where they are. I’ve said it before and will continue saying it. If it means knocking on client doors, canvassing neighborhoods, and working more collaboratively with faith, business, primary care, education, housing, and community leaders, we intend to do it because we promised we would.
Dreams will not dry up. Dreams will not fester like a sore. Dreams will be realized in Louisiana’s Delta.
Admittedly, we’ve had to delay our mobile health clinic dreams. However, those dreams are now back on the road and headed to areas with known transportation barriers and other access issues. That’s a dream realized. And when our patients shared that they did not have employment opportunities, we created Second Opportunity Workforce Solutions. We established transitional housing opportunities when they mentioned not having a place to live. We partnered with the Food Bank of NELA when they said they had food insecurities. These are dreams realized.
For years, we operated one of the largest free-standing pharmacies in Louisiana’s Delta. I recently outsourced and expanded our pharmaceutical infrastructure so that we could tailor services to our region’s most marginalized and vulnerable. I also wanted to expand health literacy, increase pharmaceutical access, and make sure vulnerable populations got a chance to receive lifesaving preventative treatments.
Through our partnership with Genoa, our patients, staff, provider network, and the entire region can obtain cost-effective medications as part of our holistic behavioral and primary healthcare delivery system. With Genoa, we can also prescribe and distribute psychotropic and primary health medications regionally, better coordinate and communicate with prescribers inside and outside our provider network, monitor patient tolerance and medication adherence more efficiently, and ensure the proper storage and disposal of unused and unwanted medications. Again, dreams realized.
So the question becomes, what can happen when dreams are realized and not deferred? Lives are saved. To save a life, one must be willing to take action on what is being asked and dreamed of by those in need. To save a life, one must be willing to execute dreams while others are standing still.
~ Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, Executive Director