Member of the Month: Darnel Dabu, MD, MPH
Lubbock physician helps build a healthier West Texas
Darnel Viray Dabu, MD, MPH, FAAFP, has been the medical director of Community Health Center of Lubbock since he completed residency in 2010. He is part of the CHCL senior leadership team that oversees and develops multiple clinics throughout Lubbock, improving the population health of West Texas. The newest CHCL main building recently opened, improving patient experience and access. They serve more than 25,000 patients per year at CHCL, a number that is continually rising. They are also a patient-centered medical home and a Joint Commission Accredited program.
Dabu was the chief resident at his family medicine residency program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-AHEC-SA, where he also received the Most Outstanding Resident Award. He attended medical school at the oldest university of Asia, University of Santo Tomas, and is a member of Tau Mu Sigma Phi. He also holds a master of public health degree from the University of the Philippines where he received the University Scholar Award.
He is active on various committees of different professional organizations. He chairs TAFP’s Commission on Public Health, Research, and Clinical Affairs; is a member of the Texas Association of Community Health Center’s Clinical Committee; is a member on the Committee on Membership for the Texas Medical Association; and is a Board of Directors member for the Lubbock-Crosby-Garza County Medical Society. Dabu is a clinical assistant professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Department of Family Medicine.
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it? Were you inspired by anyone?
My mother, Dr. Adelina Dabu, a family physician and my father, Dr. Florencio Dabu, an orthopedic surgeon inspired me to be a family physician.
During my formative years, my parents conducted various free clinics in our hometown in the Philippines, caring for the underserved. They showed me the fulfillment in helping vulnerable and underserved populations. This exposed and continually inspired me to be of service to others. It gave me a greater sense of life and the passion to become a family physician.
As a family physician, I think we are privileged to take care of our patients through the different stages of their lives, multiple generations in each family, and the wide variety of clinical cases is very fulfilling. Another aspect that excites me as a family physician is that we are always at the forefront or the gatekeepers of various changes in health care delivery for continually improving the lives of our patients.
It is important for me to be a member of AAFP and TAFP because:
Through the years, AAFP and TAFP continually provide me quality, up-to-date continuing medical education and the latest training programs. It also provides valuable, productive networking with my young and veteran colleagues.
I am also grateful to the staff and officers of TAFP for providing leadership development scholarships, especially for sponsoring and giving me the opportunity to be part of the TMA Leadership College and AAFP Annual Leadership Forum.
What is the most interesting / memorable experience you have had when dealing with a patient?
Being a family physician, every patient visit is always a memorable experience.
One experience I remember is when I was a resident and my wife was pregnant with our twins. I also had an OB patient pregnant with twins with almost the same due date. Fortunately, they delivered a couple of weeks apart.
What do you think your experience in the TMA leadership college will bring to you as a physician?
The TMA Leadership College gave me greater insight into being a servant physician leader. As a servant physician leader, being mindful and compassionate to the needs of others is important for our growth and development.
The training reminded me of John Maxwell’s law of process and the law of connection being creatively used in the different leadership tools.
We should remember that it is our privilege to serve and improve the lives of our patients. Furthermore, it is good to have the open perspective of a beginner’s mind and to quote the Bible, Mark 9:35 says, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
What is the most important quality a family physician should have?
Compassion. It is always good to show our personal care and warmth to our patients. We should remember the greater good of what we do – teaching, healing, and helping one family, one patient at a time.
Tell us something fun (unrelated to medicine) about yourself.
My maxim is “enjoy life.” I try to have fun and find beauty in everything. Last year, just for fun for my twin boys’ 7th birthday, we created a Star Wars short film. The cast was my wife Michelle as Princess Leia, sons Luke and Matthew as Jedi Twins, and myself as Darth Vader. I enjoy photography and making short films.
How do you spend your free time?
I try to have a life/work balance by spending my free time with my family. I enjoy playing different games with my twin boys. I’m grateful for being blessed with a beautiful, loving, wife and my twin boys. An additional blessing: Michelle is pregnant with our 3rd child.
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.