Meeting People Where They Are

Leader Spotlight: Michael Serlin, MD, Regional Medical Director

Dr. Michael Serlin is a traveler. He has been to Fiji, Tanzania, Argentina, and all over the world. His favorite part: “discovering new things and meeting new people.”

Naturally curious and gregarious, he combined his love of both by majoring in communications before medical school. The result: “helping people feel better and flourish, while at the same time satisfying my inner curiosities.”

Dr. Serlin comes to AbsoluteCare after several years in settings designed to serve those who face barriers to care. Though he is used to caring for this population, what attracted him to us is the amount of support our members get—including behavioral health, transportation, and thoroughly addressing our members’ needs. “I just got here three months ago, but I’m always impressed when I learn how every aspect of [AbsoluteCare] works and how it’s all directed toward the members.”

An early life lesson came from his first job after his Infectious Diseases fellowship at a small hospital in Harlem, New York City. He had learned how to manage a population of patients who bring with them many biopsychosocial factors that contributed to their overall health. “Thinking about the patient as a whole, and not just treating the diseases they may have, is important to ensuring positive healthcare outcomes.”

And that, he said, is what is lacking in the industry in general. “More integration of medical care with care management and mental health services, including substance use, will allow patients to be treated more holistically by addressing their social determinants of health.”

It is meeting people where they are. “With medicine, you are meeting new people every day and discovering information about their lives—not just their medical history, but everything about them.” And that is how we are able to establish trust and build bonds with our members.

Dr. Serlin recalls an AbsoluteCare member whose mental health issues, combined with his experiencing homelessness, contributed to his almost daily ED visits. With each member, our priority is addressing their SDoH needs so that they have develop trust in us and a greater likelihood for adherence to their treatment plans. “He felt more comfortable coming to AbsoluteCare than going to the ED as he gained trust in us. We were even able to get him a hotel for a holiday weekend, and we continue to address his housing issues for the long term. We managed to improve his overall health while reducing unnecessary utilization of hospital services.”

A Chicago transplant, Dr. Serlin has been living in Maryland for eight years with his wife and three children. He’s still a Cubs fan, however, and enjoys going to concerts, gardening, playing tennis, and, of course, traveling—where he can meet even more people where they are.

Read “Hepatitis: The As, Bs, and Cs,” by Michael Serlin, MD, and Andrew Bergman, MD.