Spotlight: Larkspur Clinic Leadership
Diane Khaoone and Xavier Perez, MD are a “dynamic duo,” working hand-in-hand to ensure that patients at the Larkspur Clinic receive the highest possible quality care.
The Clinic, which moved from the Marin General campus in 2014, provides adult primary care, family planning and reproductive services, behavioral health and psychiatric services, and a number of specialty medical services. It may be the smallest of the Clinics’ four primary care sites, but it’s a busy place, with an average 255 patient visits/month.
Khaoone oversees the operations – supervising staff, monitoring patient flow, and coordinating schedules. As Site Medical Director, Dr. Perez primary responsibility is to ensure that the care is standardized and of the highest possible quality. He also personally cares for about 17-22 patients/day.
A Commitment to Primary Care
Dr. Perez, who was born in Belize, shifted his career interest to medicine when he observed the substandard care his mother received when she became seriously ill during a family visit to Jamaica. He obtained his medical education in the US, specializing in surgery and intensive care. But his interests began to change when he provided primary care while on sabbatical in rural Iowa.
“I saw the difference a primary care physician could make in a person’s life,” he reported. “Much of my work had focused on end of life care with very ill patients – often with no solutions. Working in primary care and community medicine gave me a whole new perspective. By starting the work ‘upstream,’ I was able to develop a real relationship with my patients and help them achieve healthy lives.”
Perez, who has won numerous honors (including Sutter Solano Physician of the Year), most recently worked as medical director of Sonoma Valley Community Health Center. He wanted to be more fully imbedded in Marin, where he and his family live, and found Marin Community Clinics to be the ideal place. “It’s a solid organization – from top to bottom. The caring is very evident.”
Serving as a Role Model
Khaoone, who is first generation Laotian, wanted to work in a helping profession. “Plus, no one in my family had worked in health care and I wanted to be a role model,” she explained.
She has worn several hats at Marin Community Clinics, so knows it well. Ten years ago, she started a Medical Assistant, providing direct patient care. Over time, she became Assistant Clinic Manager and eventually Clinic Director. “I love interacting with people and feeling that I am part of a team that is providing the best possible care,” she said. “It’s exciting work. Our patients come from diverse backgrounds and many are unique in their own ways, so we have to ‘think outside the box.’ There is never a dull moment, and it’s a real family feeling here – for patients and staff.”