Stethoscope laying on porch
Tales from the Road May 6, 2016

By Phil Miller, contributor

Jasmine Sulaiman, MD Named 2016 Country Doctor of the Year

RVING, Texas – Jasmine Sulaiman, M.D. interviewed for her current position as the mainstay of healthcare in Cleveland, Texas in a local bank that had no roof, thanks to destruction wrought by Hurricane Rita. Gazing at the open sky she was well aware that as an associate professor of family medicine at an Ivy League-affiliated medical center, she could have her pick of virtually any primary care position in the country. She nevertheless elected to be the sole physician at the Health Center of Southeast Texas and now serves four rural Texas communities, the area hospice, and all patients who enter their doors regardless of ability to pay.

For her remarkable record of commitment and service, Dr. Sulaiman has been named 2016 Country Doctor of the Year.

Presented by Staff Care, an AMN Healthcare company, the Country Doctor of the Year Award recognizes the spirit, skill, and dedication of America’s rural medical practitioners. The leading temporary physician staffing firm in the United States, Staff Care has presented the national award since 1992 to exemplary physicians practicing in communities of 30,000 or less.

“Dr. Sulaiman represents a new breed of country doctor,” said Sean Ebner, president of Staff Care. “She combines the compassion and commitment of old school physicians with the information technology and new practice paradigms of today’s doctors.”

The Health Center of Southeast Texas is one of a growing number of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) nationwide that offer a healthcare safety net for medically underserved populations. Over 70% of the center’s patients have no health insurance, while over 30% of its service population never completed high school.

When Dr. Sulaiman signed on at the center for comparatively low pay in 2005, Cleveland’s only hospital had just closed and access to patient care in the community was severely limited. Working out of a converted flower shop, Dr. Sulaiman began seeing 40 patients a day, and as the center’s sole physician remains on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center grew rapidly and Dr. Sulaiman has since added a total of seven physician assistants and nurse practitioners, all of whom rotated through her practice during their training. The center now operates out of a 6,300-sq.-ft. facility with nine exam rooms and also operates three other clinics throughout a three-county rural service area, all supervised by Dr. Sulaiman.

Dr. Sulaiman still is often scheduled to see patients 40 hours a week while serving as medical director of four clinics and the local hospice and continues to make house calls. She implemented a program that upgraded medical care at the county jail and spearheaded the effort that saw the Health Center of Southeast Texas designated as a Level 2 Patient Centered Medical Home. In this model, patients have one point of contact that coordinates all of their care. She developed an educational program to interest local high school students in healthcare careers and one of the students now is enrolled in medical school.

Due to an urgent need for mental health services in the area, Dr. Sulaiman is helping to implement a tele-psychiatry program at the center. Each year, she runs a two-day free clinic in Matamoros, Mexico. In 2013, Dr. Sulaiman was named Texas Family Physician of the Year by the Texas Academy of Family Practice.

“Dr. Sulaiman is all that comes between the underserved patients in her area and a healthcare crisis,” Said Steven Racciato, executive director of the Health Center of Southeast Texas. “She is absolutely indispensable to the communities she serves.”

As the 2016 Country Doctor of the Year, Dr. Sulaiman will be able to enjoy two weeks of time off, as Staff Care will provide a temporary physician to fill in for her at no charge, a service valued at approximately $10,000. She also will receive the award’s signature plaque featuring a country doctor making his rounds on a horse and buggy, an engraved stethoscope, and a monogrammed lab coat. Additional information about the Country Doctor of the Year Award can be found at

About Staff Care And AMN Healthcare

Staff Care is the nation’s leading temporary physician staffing firm and is a company of AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AHS) the largest healthcare workforce solutions company in the United States. For more information, visit or

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