Last week Nantucket Cottage Hospital welcomed Dr. Alexinna Johns as Nantucket’s newest year-round primary care doctor.
“When I first came to Nantucket, and met the team, it seemed serendipitous, Nantucket is such an amazing and diverse community, and being given the opportunity to learn about these patients and help navigate their care path is truly a gift,” said Dr. Johns.
Born in Sierra Leone, Dr. Johns, migrated to the United States with her family at a young age, nearly four decades ago, before attending the University of California, Riverside, where she graduated with honors followed by medical school at Ross University’s School of Medicine.
“I believe my background unintentionally prepared me for this role, growing up and understanding strife and struggle really gives you a wider perspective on the human experience,” said Dr. Johns. “My experience helps me understand the patient at a more personal level and allows me to better navigate their care.”
As a member of NCH, Dr. Johns will be practicing full spectrum family medicine with obstetrics at NCH’s outpatient clinic with an added focus on addiction medicine.
“Coming to Nantucket, I’m most excited about broadening my skills and being able to practice OB and addiction medicine again,” said Dr. Johns. “There is something inspiring about being able to walk someone through the journey of whole person healing in the recovery process and working in OB is like being part of a miracle every day.”
Prior to joining NCH, Dr. Johns lived in Puyallup, Washington, where she previously practiced family medicine and geriatrics at Western State Hospital. Prior to her practice at Western State Hospital, she spent nine years as a faculty member of the Family Medicine Residency Program at East Pierce Family Medicine.
“The addition of Dr. Johns to our exceptional line-up of island doctors is part of our enduring commitment to delivering the best whole person care possible to our Nantucket community,” said Gary Shaw, President and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. “This addition means that there will be more appointments available to our patients, reducing wait times, while increasing the quality of care that comes with having a provider on-site that specializes in the high-demand field’s our community needs, like obstetrics and addiction medicine.”
Early last month, Nantucket Cottage Hospital welcomed Dr. Sandra Van Gundy, EdD as our new Vice President of Quality, Risk and Patient Experience.
Hailing from Holderness, New Hampshire, Dr. Van Gundy is no stranger to the challenges faced by island residents, having spent over 30 years as a frequent seasonal visitor of Nantucket.
“I first came to Nantucket in 1988, staying in Tom Nevers, since then I would visit regularly through the 90s, which is when Nantucket really became my happy place, I particularly enjoy its natural beauty and the welcoming warmth of the community,” said Van Gundy.
A seasoned Registered Nurse, Van Gundy spent 12 years rotating throughout clinical roles before making the jump to academia where she was an Associate Professor of Nursing with a focus on quality, patient safety, and health at Plymouth State University.
“As an advocate for population health, my work centered on health needs of populations across the world, from Latin America to China, treating both chronic and acute illness and monitoring determinants of health,” said Van Gundy.
Despite years in healthcare as a practicing clinician and educator, Van Gundy’s most enlightening experience wasn’t as a nurse or professor, but rather as a patient, at the receiving end of the care she spent a lifetime practicing.
“As a cancer survivor, I realize being a patient was a gift as a practitioner, because I realized that despite efforts to empathize with the patient, really have no idea what our patients are going through,” said Van Gundy. “There was a tremendous empathy gap, caregivers were often challenged to successfully put themselves in their patient shoes and were developing plans of care that were not able to meet patient’s individualized needs.
Following recovery, Van Gundy came to the conclusion that her experience was an opportunity to influence healthcare system design so it balances evidence-based decision making with unique needs of patients in order to provide those we serve with a better patient experience.
“There are so many factors that impact a patient’s treatment, everyone has dozens of psycho-social factors that need to be taken into account when building a care plan,” said Van Gundy. “Caregivers need to know what a patient is going through…family or financial challenges, all these pieces need to be taken into account to maximize that personalized care and ultimately patient success.”
As the hospital’s leader for quality and patient experience, Van Gundy believes that her experience as both a patient and practitioner has uniquely equipped her to optimize patients’ experiences at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, while leading the organization through a pivotal period for healthcare providers across the nation.
“Healthcare leaders have known for a decade that America doesn’t have enough doctors to increase access to care nationwide,” said Van Gundy. “We can overcome that challenge here on Nantucket by ensuring our nurse practitioners are practicing to the fullest extent of their education, training and license, and help our community understand just how remarkable a resource they are for care.”
For Van Gundy, Nantucket offers an opportunity for her to get closer to patients, while addressing many of the pressing healthcare issues impacting the island community.
“Since I first came to Nantucket in 1988, it’s grown into such a diverse and unique community,” said Van Gundy. “With that comes a wide spectrum of challenges and expectations from our patients, but when you look around this new, state-of-the-art hospital, you realize we’re well situated to meet those challenges.”
Nantucket Cottage Hospital recently competed its 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment, detailing the most pressing health concerns facing Nantucket.
Since 2019, NCH has engaged the Nantucket community in an attempt to gain insight into the underlying health needs of the community. With the COVID-19 Pandemic reaching the shores of Nantucket during the middle of this engagement, the community had an increased interest and awareness of many of the needs that had been exacerbated by the pandemic. The result of this increased awareness and interest resulted in some new findings on top of many of the longstanding needs of Nantucket.
This CHNA marks the first-time food insecurity was highlighted by the community as a potential need, and a newfound awareness of racial inequities’ impact on health helped to create a more robust and inclusive understanding of community health needs.
While many issues emerged throughout the community engagement period, four stood out as the most consistently concerning and pressing, lack of affordable housing, the need for increased mental health care, the high demand for cancer care and substance use disorders.
The complete report can be found here: 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment
(November 4, 2021) – Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is now available to children over the age of 5, at no cost to the patient, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Nantucket Cottage Hospital will be offering pediatric COVID-19 vaccines from 2:00pm to 5:00pm every Monday beginning on the 15th of November, by appointment only.
Once a parent or guardian signs up their child for the first dose, they will automatically be signed up for a second dose three weeks later. Due to the limited availability of appointments, it is critical that patients understand that they must be available for both the first and second dose at the time of booking.
November 15 – Pfizer 1st Dose à December 6 – Pfizer 2nd Dose
November 22 – Pfizer 1st Dose à December 13 – Pfizer 2nd Dose
November 29 – Pfizer 1st Dose à December 20 – Pfizer 2nd Dose
Appointments for pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations can be made at https://covidvaccine.massgeneralbrigham.org/