BETH MULBERRY: Excellence in Healthcare Inspire

Good health matters a lot to Beth Mulberry.

Not surprisingly, as “Dr. Beth, as she is known in the Cottage Grove neighborhood of Greensboro, is a doctor who has completed a residency in pediatrics and internal medicine.

What may be more surprising is that she believes that “health care is only one part – a relatively small part – of someone being able to live a healthy life.

Dr. Beth, Elizabeth Mulberry, visits Johnny Lewis at his home near a health clinic in 2018. Lewis’ great-granddaughter, Liana Lewis, walks out the front door.

Woody Marshall

“You have to talk about the social determinants of health,” she says. Safe and affordable housing. Good education. Access to healthy food. Child care. All these things and more make a difference.

And Dr. Beth, News & Record’s choice of excellence in healthcare, also makes a difference through her work at Mustard Seed Community Health.

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Mulberry started talking about the concept behind the mustard seed with his friend and pastor Julie Peebles in 2013.

She wanted to build relationships with other service groups, partners in making the community healthier. She also wanted to open a clinic that offers both primary care and behavioral care.

“And we have to be in the community we serve. That helps the transport barrier. “

In 2016, Mustard Seed opened as a clinic five days a week on South English Street. He rents a town house nearby, mostly for health sessions and consultations.

“Anyone in East Greensboro can come here,” Mulberry said. “It doesn’t matter if they are insured or not. If you live in Guilford County and live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and are uninsured, you can come here.

The clinic uses Guilford Community Care Network’s Orange Card sliding scale to pay based on income.

Mulberry is the medical director and the only doctor.

Sarah Sagerdal, who nominated her for News & Record, wrote about her “unwavering commitment not only to the health of the whole person, but also to the whole community.”

But Mulberry says, “I don’t want to get away like I’m riding my white horse. … “How do you develop a good relationship with a community where you are trusted and not seen as ‘Oh, yes, here’s another person coming to save the day’?”

Mulberry has found some answers in parts of its past.

She moved here in 2000 with her husband Earl Wang and have a son, Ellie. Prior to Mustard Seed, she worked for Eagle and HealthServe.

But her first job as a doctor was at a hospital in Alaska serving 50 Yupik Eskimo villages, some 200 miles away by plane.

The hospital had a program for health care assistants, such as building trust and practicality, she said. They trained people from each village to make assessments, consulting with doctors on the radio on a daily basis.

She saw the wisdom to do something similar for Cottage Grove; the inhabitants are predominantly African-American, but also include a diverse refugee and immigrant population.

The result is a healthcare team made up of residents, staff and trainees in the field of healthcare and human services. Members deliver food, lead residents to meetings, advocate for solutions to problems in the neighborhood.

It’s a big part of the mustard seed, she says, “probably the part that makes it different from other clinics.”

And Dr. Beth digs deeper into her origins for motivation, the agricultural community in Central Illinois, where she grew up and always felt safe.

“They taught me to take care of other people,” she says, “and that’s what I’m doing here today.”

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