Dr. Sujata Chava is all about the love – literally.“I love St. Charles Parish,” Chava said. “I’m just extending. I haven’t left.”
When she starts seeing patients in August at the St. Charles Community Health Center, it’ll be the location in Kenner. She comes from St. Charles Parish Hospital where she most recently worked as an internal medicine staff physician and earlier there as chief of staff.
When she found the opportunity to join Access Health, which operates the new Kenner center along with others in Norco and Luling, Chava welcomed it. She will lead the internal medicine practice and welcomes treating a broad range of patients.
“I don’t feel like I’m leaving St. Charles Parish, but just extending and will still work with the Luling and Norco centers in collaboration but mainly based in Kenner,” she said.
Chava has been in practice in the parish since 2004 where she worked closely with Fred Martinez, former CEO of St. Charles Parish Hospital, who she credits with allowing her to thrive here. So she agreed to the move when Martinez, who now works with Access Health, asked her to work at the Kenner center.
She wants to continue working with Martinez, CEO, and Mark Keiser, president, both of Access Health Louisiana.
Access Health Centers was an attractive option to Chava in many ways and particularly in how she aligned with the health provider’s efforts to provide health to all people while also educating people on how to take better care of themselves.
“I feel we have an obligation to provide access to health care and want to educate patients that they have a personal responsibility to take care of their health,” Chava said. “I think everyone has the right to health care, and I think the more people that are educated about this will be able to actually improve overall quality of life, reducing the amount of money we spend unnecessarily on health care and focusing on preventive measures.”
These measures include reducing stress, eating well and annual exams for early interventions, which she said are aimed at increasing longevity and quality of life.
The regimen fit Chava’s passion for wholistic medicine, as well as her considering patients as family.
“They’ve seen me through tough times like I’ve seen them through tough times,” she said.
When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, it’s not just about the treating the disease and taking medicine, she said. It’s about whether that person is happy, stressed or exercising.
“In these past few months, I’ve done a lot of soul searching on a spiritual journey and renewed myself, and I want to bring those approaches to my patients,” Chava said. “I really understand there is more to life than just working or paying the bills. I want my patients to be happy, and I want to help them incorporate relaxation techniques, yoga and meditation in their daily life. If they’re happy they can make their family happy.
“I’ve always wanted to help people,” she said. “That’s why I got into medicine. I can’t tell you how it makes me feel when I can really make a difference in a person’s life. There is no fulfillment like that.”
And her impact can further.
“In this case, that’s important because I not only feel I can make a difference when they are in my office, but I can send a message with them to their family and it can spread. That’s important to me.”