“She’s always very in tune with the latest information and the latest research, and as we’ve gone through this pandemic, we’ve all turned to her, because we know that she is smart and aware of the most recent information that is out there,” Bramlage said.
Anim is our Daytonian of the Week. Here’s her story, in her own words.
Dr. Anim talking to Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley about COVID-19 testing.
Q: As the pandemic became more severe and the magnitude of the virus became a reality, what were some of your thoughts and emotions as a chief medical officer as you prepared to fight for your community?
A: I went straight into fight mode at the start of the pandemic. I realized very early that this was not going to be a short-term problem. In mid-February, I was already educating staff on what was to come, infection control, mode of transmission, PPE education etc. I read everything I could find on COVID-19 and tried to use a common-sense approach to make decisions and recommendations to keep us safe. We needed to re-think how we provided care to our patients and had to be flexible and accommodating. … Instead of focusing on fear, we harnessed information and education to keep our staff motivated with minimum disruption to care.
Q: How have you mentally and physically been able to continue to juggle so much throughout the last year, including your work with sickle-cell patients?
A: I have always liked to to exercise and was a gym-goer. I recall distinctly telling myself mid-March that life was about to get stressful and I needed to exercise every day. I started waking up at 5:30 on most work days to exercise. Starting my day with physical activity puts me in a good mood and reduces my stress level.
It has (also) been nice to have my daughter home from Ohio State University for most of the pandemic. The companionship has helped. I also made a conscious decision in the latter part of 2020 to dedicate some time to doing nothing. I have taken some things off my plate and allowed myself to not feel bad about it.
Dr. Anim speaking with a young sickle-cell anemia patient at an event.
Sickle cell is personal to me. Individuals with this disease are so misunderstood and stigmatized. As a parent of a child with sickle cell, I see her in every one of my patients. I never judge, always listen and do my best, no matter how challenging. Sometimes my best is awesome and sometimes not so much, but it was my best and that is what matters. I would want someone to do the same for my child.
Q: Throughout all the bad, what were a couple moments of real hope or positivity that you’ve witnessed since the start of the pandemic?
A: Just seeing our staff at Five Rivers step up to the many challenges this pandemic has presented has been very heartwarming. ... They were understanding, took things in stride, complained very little and continue to work as a team for our patients.
And, the vaccine! It gives me so much hope (that) we will get through this. It’s hard to accept all the deaths; everyone who has the opportunity to receive the vaccine should not pass it up. It is safe , effective and will save lives. It is our primary way out of this pandemic.
Q: What is it about the Dayton community and yourself that keeps you working so hard and able to continue caring so much?
A: Dayton is now my home. My children were born and raised here. This community has given me so much. I love my patients. I still take care of my very first patient when I started my practice. They have taught me to be the provider I am today. Its been my privilege to take care of them.
Q: When you do have some moments of time for yourself, what do you like to do? Do you have any favorite Dayton restaurants when you want to treat yourself?
A: I have recently become a football fanatic — Go Bucks! I love mindless television. My guilty pleasure is watching 90 Day Fiancée. I also like to cook and hang out with my girlfriends. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the latter is currently on hold. El Meson is my favorite restaurant! I love the food and the ambiance. The whole fried Tilapia is my favorite dish.
Q: Do you see relief on the horizon, or is it too early for that?
A: Once again, the vaccine is the relief. Of course, we need to continue to follow all the safety protocols until herd immunity is achieved. As long as everyone works together, we will beat this, and life WILL get back to normal.
Dr. Mamle Anim, chief medical officer for Five Rivers Health Centers.