“It’s important that we teach healthcare providers the needed skills to meet healthcare needs of people with disabilities so that anyone with any condition can walk into any office and receive competent healthcare.”
As a part of my interview series with leaders in healthcare, I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Craig Escudé.
Dr. Craig Escudé is a board-certified Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and one of the very few Fellows of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine. He is also the president of Health Risk Screening, Inc. He served as medical director of Hudspeth Regional Center in Mississippi and is the founder of DETECT, the Developmental Evaluation, Training and Educational Consultative Team of Mississippi. He has more than 20 years of clinical experience providing medical care for people with IDD and complex medical conditions and is the author of “Clinical Pearls in IDD Healthcare” and the “Curriculum in IDD Healthcare.”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After completing my residency in family medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, I began practicing family medicine at a Federally Qualified Health Center in a small town in Mississippi. There was a need at a nearby state mental hospital for nighttime, on-site call coverage. I started working there in 1997 and found that providing healthcare for people with serious mental illness and with intellectual disabilities was my calling. I transitioned to full-time work at the hospital and became the medical director of Hudspeth Regional Center, a residential program for people with severe and profound levels of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
I quickly learned that medical school had not prepared me for providing healthcare to people with disabilities and began efforts to educate practicing healthcare providers about this important field of medicine. That led to the creation of a program in the state called DETECT; the Developmental Evaluation, Training and Educational Team of Mississippi. I provided education to hundreds of healthcare providers and administrators in the state through this program.
In 2017, an opportunity to work in the field on a national level presented itself. I became president of Health Risk Screening, Inc. (HRS) in 2018. HRS is the sole developer and distributor of the Health Risk Screening Tool (HRST), the most widely used, validated screening instrument for people with disabilities. At HRS, I focus on public relations and the development of educational tools for healthcare providers and supporters of people with disabilities.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
How about heartwarming? I gave a lecture to a large group of nurses who work in the field of IDD healthcare about how behaviors can be an underlying sign of illness in people with IDD. A year later I was invited again to speak to the same group. I had a nurse come up to me and tell me about one of her patients. The patient’s support team was “at their wit’s end” regarding his challenging and disruptive behavior….