I see you behind that mask. I see the concern in your eyes
for your family and loved ones. I see the fear of uncertainty
and the hope for safety and wellness.
I see you behind that mask.” Dr. Keith Ramsey
When you become a member of Dr. Ramsey’s circle, he sends you encouraging messages. I received the opening quote from him on the day after our interview.
Dr. Keith Ramsey is the current medical director at Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center (ICCHC). Although Dr. Ransey grew up in Durham, North Carolina, he felt a connection to South Louisiana. He visited his mother’s family in New Roads on summer vacations. His leadership abilities and commitment to quality health care for everyone led him to ICCHC.
Dr. Ramsey and his wife have two children. His son Morgan is a chef at a local restaurant. His daughter Marissa is doing an internship in marketing at the clinic, updating the website and connecting to social media. Dr. Ramsey has a sparkle in his eye when he talks about his children. He says he would leave them inspirational notes each day when they were growing up.
This tradition turned into a way to reach out to his patients and staff as well. All around the clinic, you can see typed and taped strips of quotes. Some are from others, but most of them are words that come from Dr. Ramsey’s own heart and mind. He also makes inspirational CDs for his patients. While we walked around the clinic, the phone in his pocket played soft music. I never asked him about it; it just seemed to be a part of him.
Dr. Ramsey practices medicine using modern technology, but he has not let go of the hands-on, door-to-door methods. His elderly patients get special consideration. He makes house calls to some of them. One of his patients was the caretaker of the grounds of The Shadows on the Teche, Mr. Knatt, who passed away last year at the age of 99. “That’s a blessing, to listen to them. I’ve got a lot to learn about the history here.”
Another patient in her 90s is a Laotian woman whose photographs Dr. Ramsey has displayed near his children’s pictures. He said, “I love my patients. Miss Lady, who doesn’t speak English tells me, ‘Doctor, I pray for you.’”
To Keith Ramsey, medical care is about the people. He lives here because of them. “It’s not just me giving medical care; It’s what I get from a spiritual connection.”
Dr. Ramsey walks every morning between 4 and 5 a.m., praying while walking. In the fall and winter, he looks to the sky for Orion, at the triangle of stars, he recites, “Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.” And looking at the 3-star belt, he says, “All is well.”
Dr. Ramsey sends his patients out with a “prayer and a plan.” You feel all is well when your health is in his hands.
MARGARET SIMON is an elementary teacher of gifted students in Iberia Parish. She writes a blog regularly at reflectionsontheteche.com.