After attending the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University, Aaron Patterson, M.D., ’09, specialized in psychiatry. He went on to complete his residency at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.
While a resident, Patterson pioneered a program to provide mental health support to health care providers on staff at the hospital. Today, he is an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where he leads efforts to help patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have been working very hard to ensure that all our patients and their families can connect for video visits during this difficult time and to enable our staff to communicate with patients in ways that reduce the use of personal protective equipment,” Patterson said.
These methods include support groups and music therapy. Patients can also speak with providers via web calls. These commonly take place through iPad stations set up in a dedicated area easy for health care providers to access. More than 190 iPads have been deployed to help meet the need for virtual visits. Many iPads have been donated to the hospital. The largest donation has been 90 iPads.
“I started a staff support line as well to take the work of walking families through getting their devices set up off our frontline staff,” Patterson said. “These can be critical moments and we don’t want any delays.”
Art has also been donated to help motivate staff working at the hospital. One donated drawing called, “Here comes the sun,” is named for the Beatles song that has been played at hospitals around the country when a COVID-19 patient recovers and is discharged.
“We’re having too many to really do that, so we are doing a noon update on the number discharged and play a song,” Patterson said.
Patterson graduated from the Boonshoft School of Medicine’s Physician Leadership Development Program with an M.D./M.B.A. dual degree in 2009. As an assistant clinical professor at the Icahn School of Medicine, Patterson is engaged in teaching medical students and residents.
He has experience working in emergency psychiatry and inpatient psychiatry. Patterson also serves as senior director of clinical operations for Mount Sinai Beth Israel and associate chief medical information officer for the downtown campus of the Mount Sinai Health System.
“To bring a patient’s family into the room virtually and to have video interpreters at the bedside for seamless communication, has made such a difference in the care we provide,” he said. “We are now launching a series of on-demand content for patients, such as mindfulness meditations, music therapy, recorded religious service content for people of faith, etc.”