Ramona S. DeJesus, M.D.

  • Consultant, Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?

I found an enormous sense of fulfillment and satisfaction working as a nurse, so it was a natural transition for me to be a clinician when I decided to pursue a career in medicine. I enjoyed directly interacting with patients and mutually coming up with an appropriate plan for their care.

What motivated you to become a Population Health Scholar?

As a primary care physician, chronic disease management is a major challenge. With its increasing burden on health care worldwide and shortage of resources, we have to address and come up with practice solutions to optimally address the health care needs of individuals with chronic diseases across population groups.

As a Population Health Scholar, I hope to be able to contribute to the ongoing efforts directed at improving population health care delivery.

What was your initial focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?

I am fortunate at having been able to collaborate with colleagues in the divisions of Integrated Behavioral Health, Family Medicine and my division (Primary Care Internal Medicine) on research activities dealing with mental health care delivery in primary care, particularly depression management.

We see patients with complex medical problems that are mostly chronic in nature, and commonly with associated mental health illness — how can we best address their needs in a cohesive manner that is least disruptive to both patients and health care providers?

As a current Population Health Scholar through the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, my primary research focus has been on interventions that would benefit high-risk population groups and delay or prevent progression to chronic diseases.

Specifically, I have completed a project to study the impact of wellness coaching on changes in physical activity and healthy-eating behavior among Mayo Clinic Employee and Community Health patients with prediabetes. We saw significant improvement in both outcome measures among study participants and published the results in Preventive Medicine Reports.

As a scholar in receipt of extended funding, what will your additional focus be?

My hope for my initial research work was that it would provide meaningful additions to the ongoing research efforts in population health management. These can then translate into effective and efficient practice models resulting in enhanced patient care and a healthier population.

I plan to use this additional funding to expand on our promising initial findings, with the eventual goal of translating the results of our studies into clinical practice. Continued support of my initial research efforts facilitates this goal. I also plan to test the utility of a community-based collaboration with the Rochester Area Family YMCA to support lifestyle changes in patients with prediabetes.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?

I cannot envision a more collaborative, nurturing, supportive environment to embark on my career as a physician than Mayo Clinic. Since becoming a part of Mayo as a medical resident, I have not only grown professionally but also `enjoyed the personal and life balance.