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Posted on: April 18, 2023

Dr. Jacob Clarke, MD - April Employee of the Month!

Riley County Commissioners and Jacob Clarke

Dr. Jacob Clarke, MD has made a big impact at the public health clinic during the brief time he’s worked at Riley County. He was hired in May 2022, and he received three nominations for Employee of the Month in April 2023. His team uses phrases such as “amazing supervisor,” “dedication to employees and patients,” and “supportive leader” to describe him.

In the past year, Dr. Clarke has been instrumental in improving communication with partners and vendors.  He has advocated for increased training for Registered Nurses, and he has worked to ensure the safest possible care for patients and staff.  Jacob leads his staff in addressing health needs in the Riley County community, which is both incredibly challenging and very rewarding.

“Given my own health history, I naturally have a passion for transforming healthcare. It’s my goal to improve health outcomes by increasing access to health services and streamlining healthcare delivery modes,” said Jacob.

His staff say he is greatly appreciated, and the clinic wouldn’t be the same without him!

Originally from Mingona, KS, Jacob received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita and earned a bachelor's degree in biology and microbiology from Kansas State University. Jacob stays busy in his free time, too. He enjoys spending time with his wife and their pets, as well as reading and spending time outdoors. 

Jacob is an intelligent, kind, and generous soul and we’re proud he chose to work for Riley County!

Interview with Dr. Clarke

Jacob was kind enough to answer all of my interview questions. His answers were so insightful and informative,  I didn’t want to make edits. The full interview is below. 

How has your first year been?

It’s been challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic and the wake it has left has been difficult to navigate as a team. Building out new services, contracting with vendors and payors, honing clinical workflows, and increasing EMR integrations are substantial ongoing projects this spring. We have been working hard to sustainably increase services here, ensuring that we’re stewarding county and state funds as best we can.

In the nominations, your team talked a lot about how hard you work and what a dedicated leader you are - what keeps you going? 

I think it can always be reduced to two components: love and belief. Love for the community we serve, love for our team, and love for the work that we do are paramount. Likely equally important is the belief that we can effectuate positive, lasting change when we encounter injustice or a need within our community.

Your staff also talk about appreciating the support they receive from you, saying you’re always there to help. Did you have any leaders or supervisors in the past who inspired you?  

I’m incredibly privileged to have learned from several phenomenal leaders. Personally, I have many incredible leaders within my family that have guided me from a young age. Professionally, while there have been countless examples, I would like to thank RCHD Administrator and Local Health Officer, Julie Gibbs. Despite starting on the precipice of the pandemic, she has done a tremendous job for our community . She has been an excellent mentor, and I am grateful for her support.

What are some tactics you use to stay positive? 

Rarely am I the most positive person in the room. I’m probably a subdued optimist on my best days, haha. My faith has undoubtedly provided a resolve to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. I don’t know if I do any of those particularly well, but it’s in that constant pursuit that I can generate some positivity. Likewise, gratitude certainly plays a part. Having faced my own health challenges, I’m incredibly grateful to have experienced a restoration in health. Naturally, facilitating that restoration for others will always be highly rewarding.

At the health department you interact with many different personalities under a wide variety of circumstances, do you have any tips or tricks for working with people who are different from you?  

Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin had it right. It’s all about respect—namely respecting each person's inherent, inalienable value. It’s a value that can’t be undone by one’s actions and surpasses what can be gained or leveraged by another. If you can respect and appreciate the art in others, the rest will eventually follow.

What do you enjoy about your work? 

It’s been working with our team that has really made my time here a privilege. While I enjoy the challenge and novelty of each day here, I think I can find that about anywhere. It’s our team that has made the difference.

What do you wish more people knew about the work you do or about the health clinic?

We are always exploring new services we can bring to our community as well as new outreach locations to deliver those services. We are always open to suggestions from the community. If you have ideas, always feel free to share! 

Jacob Clarke posing with health department staff in front of prairie mural

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