Locums for a Small World Blog

Psychiatrist uses locum tenens to help fulfill his mission of serving others

Posted by Kari Redfield

head shot

Not all locum tenens physicians work locums full time; some work occasional locums shifts in order to earn extra money, to travel, or, like Dr. Chad Koyanagi, as a way to give back to the community. For psychiatrist Dr. Koyanagi, helping people is his mission, and he uses his expertise, compassion, and valuable skills and training to treat people in Hawaii with severe mental illnesses, including people living on the street.

Dr. Koyanagi works three part-time jobs, plus a locum tenens shift once a month at a hospital in Kona on the island of Hawaii. His locum tenens role fits into his mission of serving others, as he takes on a difficult-to-fill shift, helping people get the right treatment so they’re able to live productive lives.

His main job is for the State of Hawaii Medicaid office. He also works at a private hospital in the psychiatric unit, helping people in all types of severe mental health crises. “Given the right effectiveness of the hospitalization, they would never need to come back to the hospital,” he explains.

He also works with the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to do street medicine outreach to help people with mental illness living on the streets. “There are so many homeless people in paradise,” says Dr. Koyanagi. “Honolulu has the worst homeless problem in the entire nation.”

He says that all his roles work together. “By doing administrative and clinical and advocacy work for this population, I feel like all of the jobs are related and complement each other,” he says. “I have a pretty broad scope of how the system works for some people — and how it doesn’t work for others.”

Koyanagi1
Inspired to help others

After growing up in the Salt Lake area on the island of Oahu, Dr. Koyanagi went to Harvard University for his undergraduate degree, and that’s when he decided to become a physician. He moved back to Hawaii to complete his medical degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. He chose psychiatry in order to treat the entire person.

“My interest was in doing something related to serving the whole individual and not just a body part. I felt the need to help someone in a larger way, including their social circumstances, upbringing, and economic condition,” he explains.

After residency, he took a job at Safe Haven, a residential home for the homeless mentally ill. That’s when he made the decision to focus on a career path that enabled him to help those most in need.

“The providers were such amazing people. They spent all of their energy and compassion helping the most marginalized people in our community — and that was so inspiring to me.”

He also found the work rewarding, to see someone mentally ill and chronically homeless get treatment, housing, and get better. “It’s what drives me.”

Koyanagi2
How locum tenens allows him to fill a need

Before learning about Global Medical Staffing, Dr. Koyanagi had never considered doing any locum tenens work. But then in August 2017 he heard about a hard-to-fill shift on the psychiatric unit in a hospital in Kona. He has worked there one weekend a month ever since. By taking the shift, he is helping fill a need and providing treatment to people who really need it.

“One of the things that was appealing about this opportunity is that I’ve always felt the need to serve my community and help address some of the rural shortage areas,” he explains.

His work in Kona, like at the other psychiatric hospital, makes a difference. “I try very hard to make sure that a person’s first encounter with the system is productive. I try to go the extra mile — I make sure to engage the family as much as possible and make the clinical care as effective as it can be, and most importantly, make sure the person has referrals to all the possible resources in the community that could be helpful to them and their families. The consequence of a person not getting what they need is that often, five to 10 years down the road, the person unfortunately becomes homeless,” says Dr. Koyanagi.

Lindsay Lyons, Global Medical Staffing physician representative, adds: “We’re so lucky to work with Dr. Koyanagi. He’s great, and such a mentor for other physicians. People know who he is, and he’s highly regarded on the island.”

Making a difference

According to a newspaper article about the IHS street medicine program, last year, Dr. Koyanagi and his team succeeded in treating 20 homeless people who agreed to accept care on an outpatient basis. The treatment uses monthly injections of Invega Sustenna, meant to stabilize people suffering from schizophrenia.

“A good example is Donna in ‘Prescribing Hope’ [IHS documentary],” says Dr. Koyanagi. “She had been gravely disabled in our community for a couple of decades. She was able to get the help she needed and was able to be successfully placed in independent housing.”

Koyanagi3
Just getting started

Dr. Koyanagi says, “Seeing people suffer so badly and not have housing, not have their sanity, not have healthcare and seeing them deteriorate year after year drives me to want to be useful in this field. And the amazing people I work with inspire me to be a better person and better psychiatrist.”

Another motivator: The right mental health treatment saves lives.

“Seeing people get better is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been part of,” he shares. “There’s so much work to do. I’m just getting started.”

Learn more about Dr. Koyanagi’s work with the homeless:

Interested in putting your skills to work in underserved areas? Check out our open positions using the button below.
Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Locum Tenens, benefits of locum tenens, Hawaii, Why I locum

Global Medical's top 5 regions for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2017

Posted by Everett Fitch

global-medical-top-5-regions-2017-istock.jpg
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are in full swing. But they will be gone just as fast as they came. We thought it’d be best to prime you with next year’s top 5 regions to explore now instead of waiting ‘til January. That way you can start lacing up your boots, packing your bags and be ready to go once the New Year ball drops. Or at the very least make some tentative plans to travel in 2017.

Fortunately you don’t have to drop your career for any length of time. Within these wondrous regions we have an abundance of locum tenens opportunities for you to take advantage of. Whether your heart is drawn to wander about the countryside or your stomach is hankering to discover the best restaurants in the city, any of these regions will supply you with ample amenities. What’s more you can see how physicians in different practice settings – possibly different countries – deliver care.

As always, if you’ve been to any of these places, feel free to share your favorite adventures. A world of possibilities awaits you within these 5 striking regions.

Tasmania – East Coast

freycinet-national-park-tasmania-gmedical-istock.jpg
What can be said about Tasmania that hasn’t already been said? A lot. We’ve barely scratched the surface, barely touched the coast in all our writings. That’s why we’re bringing the East Coast to your attention.

Did you know there are a slew of national parks spread along this part of Tasmania? You’ve got Freycinet National Park with clear waters, pink mountains and Wineglass Bay. Then there’s Maria Island National Park where you can climb to the top of Mt. Maria (2,332 feet up) and witness all-encompassing views of Tasmania. And Douglas-Apsley National Park (named after the streams that wash through the region) is a can’t-miss, too, what with its thick eucalypt forest, deep gorges and magnificent waterfalls.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Take to the open road. You can hit all the above and more in one fantastic journey called the Great Eastern Drive.

Michigan – The Upper Peninsula

mackinac-island-gmedical-istock.jpg
The Upper Peninsula in Michigan has national parks, historic sites, over 40 lighthouses, shipwrecks, waterfalls and packed forests all ready to be explored. Even in winter you can experience so much beauty in such a small stretch of America.

For example, head to Isle Royale National Park for an introduction to pure wilderness. 53 miles away from the nearest town, Isle Royale can only be accessed by ferry, floatplane or passenger ship. Believe it or not this national park is one of the least visited in the country. Don’t let that deter you. It’s not visited much because of its remoteness. But that adds to its appeal. Keep in mind this massive archipelago is only open to visitors from April 15 – October 31.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

If you don’t want to wait until summer we recommend taking an entirely different ferry to Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-in-aw), which is open year-round. While this island is actually located between the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula we still suggest a day or two here not only to explore Michigan’s diverse landscape but its incredibly rich history, too.

Hawaii – Windward Coast

hawaii-mountains-gmedical-istock.jpg
The very word Hawaii conjures up images of unrivaled beauty. Green peaks scrape the sky and fall all the way to the Pacific. The landscape that surrounds inspires most to relax, some to surf and a select few to drop everything and move to these shores.

The Windward Coast might be the place that finally convinces you to stay indefinitely. If you need a nudge then head to Nuuanu Pali Lookout, a five-mile drive northeast of Honolulu. Your head will be in the clouds and your eyes will cease blinking solely to capture as much of the Koolau Cliffs as possible. Other points of interest along the Windward Coast are Makapuu Point Lighthouse, Valley of the Temples and Kailua Beach Park.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Spend a day in Kailua, a town roughly 30 minutes northeast of Honolulu. Known for its turquoise waters and white-sand beaches the scenery can’t be beat. But if you want more than just pretty views then hit up the farmers’ markets, hip boutiques and delicious restaurants that are abundant in this town.

Oregon – Coast

cannon-beach-oregon-gmedical-istock.jpg
The coast of Oregon is a long sweep. It’s tough to pick just a few spots to check out. Still you can already see the mist-blanketed sea stacks and quaint oceanside towns we’re about to describe, can’t you?

Like Florence, a river- and seaside city just about halfway between the northern and southern borders of Oregon. To get your fill of scenery visit Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves nearby. Then hit up the Waterfront Depot for the tastiest of seafood.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Cannon Beach has to be one of the only places in the world where people are happy to don their sweatshirts simply to chase that almost unreachable feeling of silent awe. And the cause of that awe? Haystack Rock of course. This 235-foot-tall sea stack just off Cannon Beach could be the most famous ocean monolith in the entire United States but we’re just guessing.

Our recommendation: stand in amazement for a moment then take a peaceful stroll along the beach.

South Carolina – Coast

charleston-south-carolina-gmedical-istock.jpg
It wasn’t intentional by any means but you’re starting to notice a theme, aren’t you? Except one region we’ve outlined, the rest are coastal. We suppose we’re urging you to travel to the oceans of the world. Though a massive body of water does border the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, too. No matter. We’re here to end the list with the coast of South Carolina, home to such greats as Hilton Head Island, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

Granted there are 2,876 miles of tidal coastline so if you only have time to make it to a few places we do recommend the wonderful places we’ve outlined above. Hilton Head Island has its dramatic marshland and some of the most jaw-dropping white-sand beaches along the Atlantic. Charleston is historic and imbued with picturesque architecture overlooking the ocean. And Myrtle Beach…well it’s renowned for many remarkable things, one of which is its world-class golf.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Stay in Charleston for a while, a romanticism exists here unlike any other. What to do? Pick a direction on any cobblestone street and start walking. You’ll encounter antebellum buildings and a slew of delicious eats.

What now? There's no better time like the present to start planning your 2017 travels. Oh and be sure to consider any of the above locales when searching for your next locum tenens assignment.

Happy 2017 travels!


Search current physician openings

 

Topics: top 5 regions, top 5 regions 2017, Tasmania, michigan, upper peninsula, mackinac island, Hawaii, windward coast, Oregon, Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock, South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Freycinet National Park, Great Eastern Drive

Global Medical's top 10 states for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2015 (pt. 2)

Posted by Everett Fitch

global medical top 10 states to explore part two
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the beauty in your own backyard. But that’s exactly what we implore you to do with the good ol’ United States. That’s why we painstakingly researched what this year’s top 10 states should be. Stop, take a breath, look around and make the familiar, unfamiliar again. Do it and you’ll see a world of adventure open up. We now present to you part two of Global Medical’s “Top 10 States to Explore” series. Read on and be inspired.

minnesota-wide-open-field-of-dreams
#5 Minnesota: Find your wide-open field of dreams right here


Ah, the Midwest. We find it at the intersection of those two disparate but quintessentially American coasts: east and west. The divide between the two began in 1849, when hundreds of thousands of forty-niners, migrated to California and—legend has it—they were carrying lattes and surfboards.

Early settlers of the frontier didn’t fly at the time, but some of the states here have been erroneously dubbed “fly-over” states. Yes, erroneous because we think America’s Heartland is full of great destinations—like Minnesota. All those Gold Rushers who never made it past the Midwest—seems they found their own wide-open field of dreams right here.

Minnesota alone has 90,000 miles of beautiful shoreline—that’s more than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined. In fact, if you have a penchant for wide rivers, mighty hills and deep culture, then this state is for you: its roots run incredibly deep when it comes to adventure. Between wild places like the Minnesota River and the Southern Lakes; small-town excursions like the North Shore Beer Trail in Duluth; and Native American heritage stops all along the Minnesota River Valley, this state is an endless eruption of spoils. All that is just a smattering of potential outdoor diversions you'll experience.

outdoors-in-minnesota-thinkstockminnesota cityscape thinkstock

Then there’s the food. Philadelphia may have its cheesesteak, but Minneapolis has its Juicy Lucy. Plus, the folks you’ll meet in the Twin Cities area can’t be beat. Minnesotans are open, friendly, and straightforward and they prize themselves on their work ethic, heritage and independence. A sunny day in June may come with a price tag, but they take the winter weather with a shrug and a stoical smile.

In the end you don't find many places like Minnesota. Not just because it has miles of boast-worthy beaches along countless top-notch fishing lakes (Darling, Winona and Victoria to name a few). No, the real reason is because when you set foot in this portion of the U.S., it just feels like home. In fact, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is the very definition of "welcome." Come work in the middle of America; you'll leave thinking the Midwest is best, too.

hawaii-less-neon-lights-more-white-sand-beaches
#4 Hawaii: Less neon lights, more white-sand beaches


Trust us, you won’t tire of this place. You’ll enjoy its luster. You’ll end up preferring its Pacific waves to those blaring neon lights in the contiguous United States you're used to. That's right, Hawaii replaces that stop-and-go lifestyle with its own unique glow. You’ll see it in its dissonant cliffs; in its harmonious beaches; in its twisty-turny roads; and in the tanned smile of every local that's so enormously thankful to call these shores home.

hiking-in-hawaii-clouds-thinkstockhawaii-palm-trees-thinkstock

Six islands make up this state. Three active volcanoes continue to sculpt its boundaries. And every last one of these ocean sanctuaries has quite the distinct personality. Kauai has perspective-shattering cliffs along the Napali Coast. Oahu gives just the right amount of city life while still blessing tourists with famous Hawaiian views (think Waikiki Beach). Molokai packs an incredible haymaker with its white-sand Papohaku Beach. Lanai trades in traffic lights for moon-invoking landscape at Keahikawelo (Garden of the Gods). Maui attracts artists and artisans alike due to its inspiring landscape. (Head to the top of Haleakala National Park to understand why these locals are so endlessly inspired.) And the Big Island, can we just say wow. The coffee farms of Holualoa. The rainforests of the Hamakua Coast. The black beaches of Punaluu. A few footsteps in any one of these above-mentioned sights will tempt you to abandon everything you know and let the ground below be your new home. Find yourself here.

new york the world turns with the empire state
#3 New York: The world turns with the Empire State


When it comes to great mountain and beach destinations, New York isn't always first-to-mind. Tall buildings, yes. Hiking boots and bikinis, no. Believe it or not there are places in the Empire State where there's rarely a hint of city life and always a steady influx of relaxation. In Upstate New York for example, sky-high mountains take the place of towering skyscrapers. Gridlocked traffic is traded in for infinite hiking trails. And the bright lights of Time Square are replaced by the most star-filled skies imaginable.

Head to Northeastern New York and visit the historic and beautiful and large Lake Champlain. Fishermen know it grows the biggest bass and the rest of us know its waters host wonderful distractions: kayaking, sailing and island-hopping. You'll also see orchards and wineries and gorges and caves and the rest of the land is beautifully battle-torn from the War of 1812.

West of that, in the Finger Lakes Region, you’re surrounded by sprawling vineyards and quiet roadways. Still, this portion packs a lot of punch. We're sure Mark Twain would completely agree. He wrote his most famous works high on a hilltop (Quarry Farm) with his head literally in the clouds. We can see why he adored it so much: Victorian homes dot leagues of blue hills and breweries and festivals add luster to the city.

Farther west you can watch 40 million gallons of water rush over 170-foot cliffs at Niagara Falls. Though, the Greater Niagara region is more than crashing water. It’s also a mecca of art (think Albright Knox Museum) and architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright anyone?) And when it comes to food, where else are you going to find the original Buffalo chicken wings (Anchor Bar in Buffalo is where it all started).

new york cityscape thinkstockfinger lakes new york 123rf

Don’t leave New York State without visiting New York City. Its skyline is world-famous and its streets and nightlife have an unmistakable beat you can’t help but dance to. The world turns with this iconic city and you should, too. Never been? A number of stops belong on your list. The Empire State Building, Central Park, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty just to name a few. After, sink your teeth into real-deal New York art (MoMA), food (A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour) and culture (Carnegie Hall).

When you depart this expansive state, you may not remember every landmark conquered but you won't soon forget the miles of Upstate country you carved, the series of NYC restaurants you frequented, and the feeling of the Empire sun beating on your back every last mile. Spend some time in New York where every moment is inescapably great.

washington-rain-or-shine-this-state-is-picture-perfect
#2 Washington: Rain or shine, this state is picture-perfect

People travel to Washington for very specific reasons: relaxing at mountain resorts, dining at farm-to-table restaurants, driving along scenic byways, imbibing in local beer, and yes, stocking up on coffee beans.

Now, coffee may be the drug of choice in Seattle but there's a lot more to this city than skinny lattes (or dreams of winning back-to-back Super Bowls). Seattle is one of those rare American cities where you can be outdoors almost year-round without freezing or sweating. The foodie in you will appreciate the enclaves of fresh seafood restaurants and a journey through Pike Place. And come rain (no doubt about it) or shine the outdoors enthusiast in you will enjoy North Cascades National Park, plus all the vibrant seaside parks scattered along the coast.

seattle cityscape thinkstockmountains and lakes in washington state thinkstock

Southwestern Washington is in a class all its own. When you're right between Portland and Seattle nothing's out of reach. You can sip on local wines, spend a day pulling in champion-sized salmon and steelhead from nearby rivers, or take a private tour of one of the world's most famous volcanoes (Mount St. Helens).

In Eastern Washington you'll find a near infinite amount of lakes, an almost impossible expanse of mountains and a passionate-about-nature-and-nightlife city sitting beautifully in the center of it all, Spokane. More than 20 wineries are nearby but we suggest Arbor Crest since it's about the cliff-top views as much as the fantastic wine.

You can probably tell, it's not hard to paint a pretty picture of Washington. On the west, you’ve got a year-round mild climate and the greenest of views. And in the rest of the Evergreen State, you've got resorts and unending outdoor adventure. What's not to love? The residents are proud to call this cross-section of America home; when you get here you'll see why.

arizona - a too-huge world of wonders
#1 Arizona: A too-huge world of wonders

In Arizona everything somehow seems grander and larger than life. Long before the first cowboy rode onto the silver screen, the world's love affair with this Wild West state burned bright.

Come here to witness the spectacle that is the Grand Canyon; admire the giant saguaros (pronounced "suh-wah-ro”) that dot the Sonoran Desert; or stand at the celebrated Four Corners—the only point in the U.S. where the boundaries of four states touch (though if you read the news, the surveyors apparently missed the real mark by 2.5 miles).

arizona cactus thinkstockhorseshoe bend arizona thinkstock

Then there’s Phoenix—the oasis town that has it all. Just imagine: you can raft in the sun-filled Salt River Canyon, hike in McDowell Preserve, and dive into endless spas and retreats all in a short amount of time. Two hours south of Phoenix you'll find another something-special city, Tucson. There aren't any beaches here, but there are deserts and mountains that frontier legends blazed through. There isn't infinite mild weather, but there are four un-boring seasons awash with color. And there aren't any waves crashing but it does grow tons of grapes, in fact, the area is surging with wineries (the region's appropriately called Napa-zona).

Ultimately, Arizona's more than warm temperatures and desert landscapes. There are caves to cool off in and forests to hike through. Find out what lava-tube-spelunking is all about in the entirely underground, 1.5-mile long Coconino Cave. Or trek near seven national parks and monuments in the world's largest ponderosa pine forest. Go on, rethink Arizona. Then grab your hiking boots and head out into this too-huge world of wonders.

Be sure to read part one of "Global Medical's top 10 states for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2015"

get out there - explore - thinkstock

Topics: Top 10 States, Washington, New York, Minnesota, Hawaii, Arizona, United States

Locums for a Small World Blog

Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

Subscribe by Email

Most Popular Posts

Browse by Tag

see all