New physician is no stranger to Taft
There's a new physician practicing in Taft, but she has a familiar face and name.
Jasmeet Bains M.D. just joined the staff at the Omni Family Health Clinic in Taft.
But she's been here before.
She worked alongside her father, Devinder Singh Bains, at his new car dealership, Taft Chevrolet, and planned to follow in her father's footsteps.
But that changed in 2008
She saw the effect of a financial crisis on healthcare in Taft that opened her eyes to the healthcare needs right in her own backyard
"...the stock market crash of 2008 made me rethink my purpose in life as I saw something so important like healthcare become completely wiped off the table," she said. "I saw parents struggling to choose between taking their sick child to the Doctor and putting food on their table," she said.
That came several years after Taft's acute care hospital was closed.
"It made me angry to see something so important like healthcare become starved and forgotten. After burying a close friend in Taft that suffered a heart attack and was not able to reach the hospital in time, I made a decision to pursue a medical degree as, at that time, I saw the only option to help make a difference and help pilot much needed social change," she said.
She felt comfortable working here at the dealership and wanted to come back.
"Taft was the main reason I pursued a medical degree, and as I neared the end of my Residency training in Bakersfield, the answer was clear to me as to where I would end up. My first day as a Physician in Taft felt like a huge homecoming for me and I hope I can, at the very least, become a part of the community so that we can grow together and celebrate Taft for the amazing community it was and is.
Now she's trained as a family medicine specialist in a field that is badly understaffed in the area.
Fewer and fewer doctors are available in the area.
"Taft is an area that has a severe need for primary care physicians. My biggest hope is that we can work together as a Community to help bring awareness to screening guidelines, the importance of seeing a doctor regularly, empower women, and to help strengthen the family unit so that Taft can grow it’s own physicians.
Omni is a Federally Qualified Health Center able to provide all much of that for the community, she said.
The clinic even helps uninsured patients apply for insurance, Bains said.
Bains completed her medical training right here in Kern County with a medical residency at Kern Medical and Clinica Sierra Vista.
That opened her eyes to the need for preventative care and regular doctors visits.
People often don't see a doctor until they are very sick when preventative care or early treatment could have made a big difference.
Bains isn't just making a difference at the clinic.
In may of 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her to the California Healthcare Workforce Commission, which is working to increase the number of students and residents receiving primary care education and training in areas of unmet need throughout California.
Omni Family Health care is located at 1100 Fourth Street and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon, and on the first and third Saturday of each month.