Leena Khanzode, MD, has been recognized locally and globally for her volunteerism, including her recent work with refugees at a Santa Clara County community clinic.
Leena Khanzode, MD, a psychiatrist at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center, volunteers 4 hours every other week at the Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) Health Center, one of the largest community based health centers in the area. It serves the vulnerable and marginalized ethnic communities of Santa Clara County.
Since 2016, Dr. Khanzode has provided psychiatric medication management for patients, and she also works with refugees who were victims of torture in the countries they fled.
Patients Teach Kindness
“As a physician, I have learned to honor and respect their experiences and they have taught me to be empathetic and kind,” said Dr. Khanzode of her AACI patients. “It continues to be a very fulfilling experience for me and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”
Many of the patients she sees are from places across the globe: Mexico, Asia, and the Middle East.
Dr. Khanzode said the survivors are unique in their resolve and resilience.
In India, where she was born and raised, her parents were active in community health organizations, so Dr. Khanzode’s community caring started early. In medical school, she volunteered to help in the infamous Indian slums where disease is rampant due to poverty, poor water, and lack of sanitation.
Training Doctors Is the Key
In recognition of her work, Dr. Khanzode was honored by the NBC Bay Area television station in May.
She has also won a Global Health Scholarship to Rwanda, a country still recovering from the 1994 genocide between warring tribal factions. Dr. Khanzode trained 7 resident psychiatrists there, and they still connect with her in California by Skype. There are only 10 trained psychiatrists and 10 residents in training for Rwanda’s population of 12 million.
“Training doctors is the best way to provide better community health care for all of us, whether in Rwanda or here in the U.S.,” she said.
Dr. Khanzode completed her residency in psychiatry at Stanford and came to Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara as a resident in 1999.
“I love the integrated, evidence-based care that Kaiser Permanente provides. My colleagues are wonderful and it’s so gratifying helping individuals and families overcome difficulties and lead happier, more productive lives.”