My Baystate Story:
Dennies Cuevas-Rivera, MD
My name is Dr. Dennies Cuevas Rivera and I’m a primary care physician at Baystate Primary Care in Palmer, MA.
It has been a challenging two years but I’m proud to say that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have continued to care for our patients.
I became a doctor because I wanted not a job, but a vocation, a mission to contribute to the community helping others. Primary care has an important — sometimes overlooked — mission in the prevention of disease or worsening of chronic medical conditions. A focus in preventive medicine also helps lower the economic burden to patients and to a healthcare industry that struggles with exponentially growing costs.
Some people might be surprised to hear my background and why I feel so strongly about caring for people. Growing up in a territory of the United States, I felt that citizenship should not be taken for granted. I felt the need to prove myself as a citizen and to serve in the best way I could.
I graduated from medical school in 2008 in Ponce, Puerto Rico. I completed my residency in Internal Medicine in 2011 at Brooke Army Medical Center (now known as San Antonio Uniform Health Education Consortium) in San Antonio, Texas. I served at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, as an internist and later as Officer in Charge of the Internal Medicine clinic, among other things. I also completed one tour in Afghanistan in 2013.
I was inspired to join the Army by both of my grandfathers who served in Korea in the 1950s. They inspired me with their sense of civic duty and responsibility. I find those values applicable to the times we live in now. We need to continue following guidance from health authorities like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NHI), and Baystate Health and to also continue practicing evidence-based medicine, even when it is inconvenient. We have to be willing to sacrifice some personal “liberties” or “my rights” for the community to thrive and the country to survive this pandemic. Wearing a mask, getting a vaccination (when your health allows for it), should be looked at as an act of patriotism; an act of love for our neighbors and fellow countrymen and countrywomen.
Every generation is called upon to action and I believe in my heart that if we act together, we can turn this pandemic around and we should come out a stronger community and a stronger country after the dust has settled.