March 15, 2018
Diego Garza, MD, MPH, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health alumnus and director of telehealth at Carolina Partners in Mental HealthCare PLLC, in Durham, N.C., is a winner of Triangle Business Journal’s 2018 Health Care Heroes Award. He and other awardees were honored at a reception in Cary, N.C., on March 9.
The 24 winners include doctors, nurses, volunteers and administrators from across the extended Triangle (N.C.) area.
Garza earned a Master of Public Health degree in public health leadership at the Gillings School in 2017. He is an adjunct instructor in the School’s Public Health Leadership Program and serves on the program’s admissions committee.
In his role as director of the telehealth program at Carolina Partners, Garza plans, implements and monitors the Direct Care program, aimed at increasing access to mental health care services in the state. As one of the largest teleconferencing mental health programs in the region, Direct Care offers online telepsychiatry and teletherapy appointments to more than 400 patients in North Carolina each month.
“Telehealth, a relatively new and emerging field in health care, is one of the most effective and low-cost vehicles to increase access to health care for vulnerable populations,” Garza said. “People in jails and prisons, children and adults in rural areas, the elderly in retirement communities, communities of color and victims of domestic violence all have increased access to care. Telehealth also allows working people and others who don’t have time to attend a doctor’s appointment to receive medical advice online from their homes or workplaces.”
Jason Christie, market president and publisher of Triangle Business Journal, said that the awards program was highly competitive and that those who had risen to the top tier of such a talented field of nominees should be proud.
“Thank you,” Christie wrote in a letter to the winners, “for the commitment you demonstrate to nurture and care for our region’s families.