Dr. Sandra Scott is the executive director of the One Brooklyn Health (OBH) Brookdale Hospital Medical Center. She was appointed last June to the position, making her the first woman, physician, and person of color to have the job in the 100 years since the hospital was founded.

“It wasn’t at the forefront of my mind,” said Scott about her role. “I realized that public policy and legislation really drives how health care is delivered on the frontline. And so I know there needs to be more diversity at the table when policies are made that impact communities.”

Scott was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Baton Rouge. In her 20s she attended Louisiana State University for undergraduate schooling, and attended medical school in Houston, Texas. Her first job as an emergency physician was at Kings County Hospital, which is classified as a safety net hospital. A safety net hospital is a medical center mandated to treat a patient regardless of insurance and is often located in underserved communities, likely comprised of racial and ethnic minorities.

“I went to Kings County in the late ’90s and that was a time when there was a lot of trauma,” said Scott. “You meet people for the first time in that very stressful encounter for them, the patient. They have to wake up and decide to come to the emergency department or they just woke up in the emergency room.”

Scott said that she loves emergency medicine and having direct patient care. The bulk of the trauma people experience at Kings County, she said, is unfortunately gun violence and adamantly agrees that gun violence is indeed a public health crisis. She said that there is not enough conversation about how gun violence directly and indirectly impacts the physical, emotional, and mental health of whole families within a community.

Throughout her career, Scott said she has only ever worked in safety net hospitals such as Kings County and Brookdale. Her goal is to serve and uplift communities with health and equity disparities both in the U.S. and abroad. Her first position at Brookdale was heading all three emergency departments in Brownsville. Now she runs Brookdale Hospital from a more executive and less hands-on role, but she’s excited about the opportunity to effect change.

Scott said she is appreciative of the inclusion of funding for safety net hospitals and OBH in the state’s budget. With that money, Scott said they have been busy making much needed improvements to the hospital’s infrastructure and hyper focusing on efficiency for patients.

“My goal is to make some significant impact on Brookdale and OBH. There’s a lot of work to be done around on access to care,” said Scott. “I’m really focused on getting the work done that I want to accomplish here.”

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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