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7 > Image 7 of Kentucky Alumnus, 1988, no. 2

Part of Kentucky alumnus

i .E ' L i g L. l i 1 r j _ i By Sandra Thacker _,,_ jr combination of fate Since 1967, Leach has worked mostly V A i A and interest got me with the Indian Health Service in I into community Arizona and South Dakota. He believes l if I medicine," states that his own experience as a patient i 1 ``'= . " _,, Rice C. Leach M.D., UK College of helped him to develop a better { "kt yl U .. V 7/ Medicine Class of 1966. "The imferext understanding and respect for his I 'p_ A began at UK. Kurt Dueschle was patients. i I chairman of community medicine and "A major attraction of my work with { . he had worked with the Navajos in the the Indian Health Service has been the past. We talked a lot about that people. They are just plain l`un to l experience. Then, for a senior elective work with. They have a fantastic sense l in 1965, I went to Bolivia to do of humor and really enjoy life." Leach, l , ~ epidemiologic studies in a small a Bluegrass native, likens Indians to mountain COYITI-Hlllrlity and really Kentuekians l`[`Ol'l'l Appa]Zl(fhl2. in EIS { sharpened my interest." much as they tend to be "cautious until E Thefate catalyst was of a more they get to know you." He also notes Q personal nature. "When I was about that "they form individual opinions l DR. C. four months into my internship, I was and accept you one at a time and don`t ) . . Q operated on for a malignant melanoma. hold the long history of x _ _ At that time, the average surv1val for government/American Indian "* `=- I i ** ** *" my particular melanoma was 33 relationships against yOu pI`S0l121lly. l months. That experience gave me a The health problems of Indians are l new perspective on the patient-doctor often different. "Tuberculosis used to Q relationship and influenced my be a major health problem for . philosophy of practicing medicine." Indians," Leach states. "For example, during World War II, large numbers of i Indian draftees were rejected because l they had TB." It was that factor which l was instrumental in forming the Indian i Health Service. Although TB is not currently as big l ofa health issue for Indians, it was still l prevalent when Leach began his PHS l career. Throughout the 1960s, Indians still had an incidence rate I approximately twice the national l average and the Service invested a lot of energy into tracking TB occurrence g epidemilogically, and into getting Q nurses out into the communities to supervise medication, etc. 5 UK