My name is Jason Lofton, and I am a family physician in solo practice in De Queen, Ark. I graduated from De Queen High School, the University of Arkansas for undergraduate, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and completed my family medicine training at the AHEC in Fayetteville. I have been married to my wonderful wife for 14 years, and we are blessed with children.
I first became acquainted with the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation around 2012 when we partnered to host a local men’s health outreach clinic through Legacy Initiatives, a non-profit I work with in De Queen. Our partnership continued in 2013 when we began offering a free Prostate Specific-Antigen (PSA) screening event. That year, we had 75 men show up to get screened, and of those men, we identified several men with high levels PSA levels. One of those men had Prostate Cancer.
This gentleman was not one of my patients, but he is one of many survival stories that are made possible through the APCF and their local outreach events.
Our partnership has grown to include yearly community outreach events. We have continued to add additional health partners like the Arkansas Minority Health Commission which allows us to also do free yearly screening labs including TSH, Lipid Panels, A1C, CBC and CMP.
In 2020, we invited other medical providers from around De Queen, and we saw almost 300 individuals come through our community health screening event. Three hundred individuals – most of whom do not have insurance – came out during a pandemic because they would have access to potentially life-saving labs for free. We don’t measure event success by the numbers. Instead, we measure success in terms of the lives we impact through these events.
2020 was a year none of us expected it to be. We saw many polarizing events take place across the world, but none hit harder or closer to home than the arrival of Sars-CoV-2. It was challenging across the board, but hope is around the corner as we begin to roll out vaccines.
As a family practice provider, my team pivoted and adjusted quickly to the new way of handling things and the new set of challenges 2020 brought to us. From seeing patients curbside for COVID swabs to pivoting to telemedicine, we adapted and we are well prepared for the challenges 2021 will inevetibaly bring.
One of the bright spots we saw in our community was how different clinics have helped each other out. I saw clinics loan COVID swabs to another clinic while their supplies were on back order. I saw clinics assist area businesses that were in need of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for their staff. I saw a local insulation company donate N95 masks to area nursing home residents when they initially ran into a shortage. Despite these hardships and shortcomings, 2020 banded our community together to help each other through tough times.
I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months and look forward to a healthier and safer 2021.