Welcome to the Umbra Health Advocacy Advocate Q&A series, where we introduce you to our community of healthcare experts and enthusiasts. In this post, we are pleased to introduce you to Michael Voss, MD, a family physician turned patient advocate. Michael uses his medical training and expertise to help patients and families navigate the often-tough journeys through the healthcare system.
Getting to Know Michael Voss: A Family Medicine Doctor Putting His Expertise to Work for You
Michael Voss, MD, completed his medical degree at Texas Tech University of Medicine after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Abilene Christian University. After medical school, Michael completed a Family Medicine Residency at the Self Regional Health Care Residency Program in Greenwood, South Carolina. He later spent more than a decade practicing medicine at the Permanente Medical Group in California, conducting office visits and telemedicine in the Department of Adult and Family Medicine. He has since hung up his white coat and turned his energies to helping patients and families navigate the medical system. Let’s get to know Michael and his transition from medical practice to patient advocacy.
Q: What drew you to patient advocacy?
Michael: Those of us who currently work in, or who have worked in, the medical field often take for granted the relative ease at which we can navigate through our own, a family member’s, or close friend’s medical journey. Now that I am no longer practicing medicine, I enjoy the opportunity to help direct people to the correct diagnosis or appropriate resources during what can be some of the more difficult and frustrating times in one’s life.
It can be overwhelming to try to make sense of a medical condition or navigate the healthcare system. Michael is like a guide to that system. He knows medicine from the inside, so he can help bridge between patients and their healthcare providers.
Q: Are there patient groups or conditions that you are especially passionate about?
Michael: Understanding a diagnosis; obtaining a diagnosis; understanding medications and/or the plan of care for a challenging or difficult condition; chronic pain, assisting in reviewing and discovering non-narcotic options for pain relief and in some cases resolution of pain (i.e. Migraine headaches, spine conditions, neuropathic pain).
Michael’s areas of focus get to the heart of some of the toughest aspects of medical care. When you’re sick or in pain, how do you make sure you’re getting the right, best treatment for you? And what if you feel like you’re not getting that? It helps to have someone who speaks the language to help translate and advocate for you.
Q: What’s one thing you wish more patients knew about healthcare or patient advocacy?
Michael: The fact that patient advocacy is available. Recently while assisting my dad in expediting his diagnosis of prostate cancer, he asked, “What do people do in cases like mine who don’t have a family member who is a doctor or a nurse? Who do they ask for help, and how would they even know how to find someone who could help?”
Michael’s dad is so lucky to have him. And we are here so that people who don’t have a doctor (or nurse or other healthcare professional) in the family don’t have to navigate alone.
Q: Share a fun fact about you that we wouldn’t know based on your bio/resume alone.
Michael: I like to write poems and rewrite lyrics to songs. I did self-publish a few pear-themed children’s books on Amazon in 2022, including “The Golden Pear: A Modern Day PEARable” and “Pears Don’t Have Feet.”
So we know that Michael has heart and humor, to go along with his medical expertise!
How Michael can help YOU:
Michael specializes in medical advocacy and navigation. He can help you:
- Get an accurate diagnosis
- Understand a new diagnosis
- Research your condition and treatment options
- Translate clinical information and test results into plain English
- Prepare for medical appointments
- Help coordinate your care
- Help you communicate with your healthcare providers
- Make sure you or your loved one is getting the best care
Stay tuned for more inspiring profiles from our community of patient advocates.