There are many aspects of working at her NHSC site that Rita Meadows enjoys, but one of the most rewarding for her is that she gets to treat the whole family, from child to grandparent in some instances. A Maryland-native who has relocated frequently due to her husband’s military career, Rita joined the NHSC in 2010 and practices as a Family Nurse Practitioner at Georgetown Medical Associates in Sussex County, Delaware. Along with her collaborating physician Dr. Beshara Helou, their busy practice has about 11,000 visits per year. In a community that has limited access to primary care, Rita and Dr. Helou are always trying to think of creative ways to see more patients and improve quality of life in their community.
Along with her passion for primary care, she has a particular interest in diabetes prevention and management. Spurred on by her personal experience of being a mom to a daughter with Type 1 diabetes, she’s not bashful to say that she’s very aggressive with her diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. She conducts both group and individual weight management sessions for both pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. She’s found these group sessions to be quite influential in preventing the onset of diabetes and improving patient outcomes. Nutritionist visits aren’t a benefit through most insurance companies unless a patient is already diabetic.
“Being creative and knowledgeable of the resources available for diabetic patients is essential when more than 60% of your patient population is comprised of Medicare, Medicaid and uninsured patients,” Rita explains. There may be resources available for the treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that many providers might not be familiar with that have the potential to increase their patients’ overall quality of life. Rita gave an example of one of her Type 1 patients that she helped get a new, updated insulin pump. The newer pump, covered under insurance, delivered insulin to the hundredth instead of the tenth measurement. This allowed more precise insulin delivery and Rita saw major improvement with her patient’s glucose levels and this has benefited the patient’s overall energy and well-being. This is one example of Rita’s vigilance in caring for her patients.
Outside of her clinical work, she is an avid volunteer and advocate for diabetes research and advocacy organizations. She’s a frequent medical staff volunteer with diabetic youth camps and is a Board Member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), acting as a JDRF Government Advocacy Leader for the State of Delaware. In this role, she connects the diabetic families in Delaware with members of Congress and meets with Senators and Representatives on their behalf. Southern Delaware is lucky to have such a gem in their community.