The approach to “team centered health care delivery” is not new or unique. Hawaii Family Health wishes to expand upon this practice, and believes that a team approach practice leads patients and their families to be seen more as “whole persons,” rather than their medical complaint or disease. This approach allows an appreciation and utilization of all the team members involved in Hawaii Family Health; including those from other disciplines and responsibilities in the practice. This includes those from nursing, reception, behavioral health or psychology and nutrition specialists, to name some of those involved in care giving. Working in collaboration as a team allows an integrative approach to healthcare delivery, and provides increased access by patients and their families or significant others, to all members of that team; not only the physician or nurse practitioner who might usually see the patient. The team model of care such as described brings together the diverse knowledge and skills of the entire team involved and can result in easier access to care and speedier decision making towards results needed. Professional collaboration between these team professionals reduces fragmentation of services, increases availability of to needed services and creates an environment wherein patients and their families can consult with a variety of those team members to create solutions to their medical or other needs. This also increases efficiency in health care delivery and creates a “authentic medical care home” that is patient centered and promotes active patient participation in their care team.
Michelle A. Mitchell, MD
Family Medicine Physician
I am originally from Ohio, an area fondly and appropriately called the “snowbelt.” I received my Bachelor’s in Biology from Case Western Reserve University before starting medical training at the Medical University of Ohio. I moved to Hawaii in 2005 for residency at the University of Hawaii Family Medicine Residency, where I served as Chief Resident.
As a Board Certified Family Physician, I care for patients of all ages, as well as perform minor office procedures. I chose Family Medicine for its diverse scope of practice, and focus on the patient and disease effect on the family as opposed to focusing on the disease itself. I believe medicine is no longer a paternalistic practice, but collaboration between physician, patient and family. I have a particular interest in rheumatologic diseases and geriatrics, but the full scope of Family Medicine is what drew me to the rural communities of the Big Island.
While I have many interests and hobbies that I don’t have time for, my favorite pastime is spending time with my dogs or dancing.
I joined Hawaii Family Health in 2016 to provide telepsychiatry services to the patients of Dr. Mitchell. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but currently reside in Los Angeles, California (only an ocean away from Hawaii!). Given our modern computational advances, I can evaluate patients from a secure remote connection over a computer.
I graduated from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, with my dual bachelors in biology and psychology. I attended medical school at Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where I also completed a PhD in genetics.
My journey then took me to the University of California, Los Angeles, for both my adult psychiatry residency, and my child and adolescent fellowship. In addition to clinical care, I am involved in research to discover the underlying genetic and biological causes of major mental illnesses. I am board certified in both Adult Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I have worked with the Seriously and Persistently Mentally Ill (SPMI) adult population, with adjudicated youth in a residential facility, with youth and adults as a Crisis Mobile Outreach worker, and with youth in a Crisis/Respite Home. I am a humanistic person-centered therapist who believes that the client is the expert on him/herself. I focus on clients’ strengths, as we explore together behavioral challenges, losses and other unresolved traumatic issues that limit clients’ optimal functioning, and guide them to become their best authentic selves.
Dr. Zalenski received her B.A. In Sociology and M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has resided full-time in the State of Hawaii since 1995, offering services to a wide array of child and adult populations. In 2003 she completed her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from APA-Accredited Argosy University, Honolulu. Dr. Zalenski approaches counseling with a strengths-based, positive belief system. Dr. Z.’s emphasis on counseling as a support to better overall physical andemotional health often puts clients at ease, whether a first-timer or someone who has participated in counseling in the past. Dr. Z. has many hobbies and interests which could be shared, but more importantly, the focus is on you and how to support you!