Meet Your Fellow Panel Physicians—Dr. Marcus Brauer
Welcome to the Meet Your Fellow Panel Physicians feature. Each edition will profile a different panel physician/panel site so that you can get to know your colleagues and learn more about how immigrant and refugee medical screening is done throughout the world.
At his panel site in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Marcus Brauer works alongside five staff members to screen approximately 500 immigrants and refugees annually, using the Culture and DOT (or 2007) TB Technical Instructions. Before becoming a panel physician in 2008, Dr. Brauer received his medical degree in 1995 from the University of Cape Town. He has since practiced Emergency Medicine, General Practice, Travel Medicine, and Occupational Health, with an emphasis on Maritime Medicine. Currently he focuses on performing specialized medical assessments in the context of work and travel.
Dr. Brauer made the decision to become a panel physician based on his interest in the nature of panel physicians’ work. In addition to performing medical examinations and filling out necessary paperwork for his patients, Dr. Brauer enjoys attending webinars, which he finds to be informative and instructive. Dr. Brauer notes that the webinars have increased his insight into the complex process of performing a US Visa medical examination.
Some of the challenges Dr. Brauer faces in his role as panel physician include cultural differences, time pressures when applicants have planned to travel on short notice, and transportation difficulties for applicants without personal transport, since the mass transit system does not function throughout South Africa. Further, Cape Town is home to people of many nationalities and cultures, making communication sometimes challenging with immigrants and refugees for whom English is not a native language.
Dr. Brauer also faces challenges when dealing with South Africa’s two-tier health system, consisting of both public and private health care providers. These providers offer varying degrees of access to advanced medical care and information. Dr. Brauer’s practice is based in the private health care sector, which does not work closely with local government clinics, although his site does partner with local government clinics for TB treatment. Dr. Brauer and his team also partner with nearby radiology facilities and laboratories to provide his patients needed documentation.
What Dr. Brauer enjoys most about being a panel physician is the diverse spectrum of interesting people he meets on a daily basis. He is also grateful to play a key role in a process that helps truly motivated people relocate and start new journeys.
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