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David Geffen School of Medicine

The Power of Faith in Healing

  The Power of Faith in Healing

Dr. Erick Madrigal (left) during a patient examination at Living Water Clinic.
Photo: Courtesy of Living Water Clinic

Erick Madrigal, MD’08, is board-certified in family medicine. He completed his residency at White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles before returning to his hometown of Porterville, California. He serves as a mentor for the Porterville Unified School District Academy of Health Sciences and the Porterville College Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine organization. He also provides job-shadowing and volunteer opportunities for students interested in careers in medicine. Dr. Madrigal is a preceptor for physician-assistant and nurse-practitioner programs across the country, and he also is a preceptor for family-medicine residents. In 2013, he joined forces with two fellow Bruins, Luis Ontiveros, MD ’06, and Joel Ramirez, MD ’08, to open Living Water Clinic. Dr. Madrigal’s goal and passion are to give back, serve and become a champion for faith-based organizations.

Since our clinic’s inception, our mission has been a Biblical one — “do to others what you would have them do to you.” What initially began as a personal spiritual journey blossomed into an entire community’s voyage. With four sites in the Central Valley, I can honestly say that without our patients’ support and prayers, any success would have been difficult to achieve. Patients comment on “feeling something different” from the minute they walk into our offices, and they have said, “I love coming here, not because I like being sick, but because I feel comforted by the atmosphere.” In spite of the challenges all small-group private practices face, both at the individual level and at the corporate level, it is our greatest passion to uphold our mission unconditionally with every patient, co-worker, friend and family member. Although I welcome the discussion of faith and healing with every encounter, my hope is that compassion and love are at the root of every interaction.

The expression of our Biblical foundation is soft, subtle and gentle, and it can be felt by patients the moment they enter our waiting rooms. Our decor may contain Scripture, the music played throughout the clinics is Christian and books offered in the lobbies focus on health and faith. All of this sends a message to patients that they are welcome to discuss how their faith and spirituality affect their health decisions. We want to incorporate as many resources as possible in their healing. Mind, body and spirit are commonly referenced in the mainstream, but what people often forget is that no one lives in a vacuum — we all have an impact on others and others have an impact on us, even if it is indirect. For this reason, we try to touch on our patients’ close interpersonal relationships or how their social or spiritual community — or lack thereof — affects their health. When we ask them about their support system, they usually tell us it is family and church, and so we try to build on that. Our aim with every patient encounter is to live and breathe our slogan: “Where Love is Healthcare.” But the bottom line is to promote healing in any way we can, even if it’s not through medical interventions.

In the moments when the seriousness of working in a private practice recedes, it is a true blessing and pleasure to be working with my UCLA Bruin family united in a common vision — something I began appreciating while volunteering with Patrick Dowling, MD, MPH, and Michelle Bholat, MD (RES ’95, FEL ’96), MPH, through the UCLA International Medical Graduate program. I also had the pleasure of working with another Bruin classmate, Felipe Sanchez, MD ’09 (RES ’12), who recently served as medical director for the Emergency Department at Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville. Porterville is Bruin strong — even our clinic manager is a UCLA Bruin!


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