- The Helping Hand Award recognizes an individual’s extraordinary contribution toward a specific project, initiative, or circumstance.
The winner for December, 2019 is Jay Balingcongan, a physician assistant on the wound care service in the Department of Surgery at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Below is a item Jay prepared, introducing himself and the award. He will be formally recognized at The Inaugural Annual Citizenship Awards Dinner in early spring 2020.
My name is Jay Balingcongan. I’m 36 years old and happily married with two daughters. I graduated from the St. John’s University PA Program in 2007. I grew up in NYC for most of my life. I started at Yale New Haven Hospital on March 18, 2019 to be exact. Prior to that I was working for the NYU Winthrop Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Program. I’ve been doing wound care for the past 12 years. I’m a certified wound specialist from the American Board of Wound Management. I currently work for Dr. Henry Hsia who is a plastic surgeon and the founding director of the Yale Regenerative Wound Healing Program.
The story of how I ended up at Yale New Haven Hospital is this: I reached a point in my life where I felt there’s not much more I can do with my career. Then I found about Dr. Hsia and this fairly new wound program at Yale. It started with a phone interview with Dr. Hsia. It was supposed to be a 30 minute phone interview but it ended up being well over an hour. I just had to take the opportunity to pick his brain. Turns out his philosophy on wound healing is completely different from how I was trained. I would say he has this holistic, conservative approach that focuses on optimizing patients.
I was presented with an opportunity to be part of wound program with a lot of potential and as the first PA for the program, I was eager to demonstrate what I can do. I’ve been working for Dr. Hsia for almost a year now and I have seen impressive outcomes following his philosophy. I work with a big team that includes the wound clinicians on the inpatient side, the nurses in the wound clinic, the plastic surgery residents, and the plastics PA’s/APRN’s. We communicate and work with each other. I am involved in both inpatient and outpatient care. As a result, I am in a position where I follow chronic wounds from beginning to end and along the way, I establish a rapport with a lot of patients.
The award came about from my involvement with a patient who had his daughter and wife at bedside 24/7. They would sleep on a recliner next to the patient or stay at the nearby hotel. They were very much involved in the care of the patient. I first saw the patient in May 2019 and I saw him multiple times a week, every week for the next 7 months. That was a long time to establish a rapport with family. The daughter was so appreciative of the care her father received that she sent a very thoughtful email which included Richard D’Aquila – the president of Yale New Haven Health, my mentor Dr. Hsia, various providers from other teams, and specifically acknowledged me among many others.
In the email, the daughter mentioned I had “extreme dedication and care” for her father’s wound, provided “diligent treatment” and “consistently tending to her father 3-5x/week over a period of 7 months” The wound almost healed by the time her father left YNHH and she stated “this type of success in a non-ambulatory patient with multi co-morbidities is almost unheard of – and all a tribute to Jay’s incredible care and concern for his patients.” In my mind, I felt I was just doing my job and I always believed there is no “I” in “team.” I have been empowered by Dr. Hsia to implement his philosophy on wound healing and give the patients the best possible outcome or at the very least, improve their quality of life.
I would like to take this opportunity to have those who have helped me be recognized as well. This includes the wound clinicians, plastic surgery residents, unit manager, unit nurses, medicine teams, and of course the daughter and wife themselves.
CONNAPA IS LOOKING FOR OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST ABOUT PAS RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR WORK OR COMMUNITY SERVICE.
PLEASE SEND ANY ITEMS TO BRUCE.FICHANDLER@YALE.EDU, CONNAPA WEBMASTER.