Inspira Health: Healthcare that sees the bigger picture

Healthcare that sees the bigger picture

Evelyn Balogun, MD, has always felt drawn to the study of people. 

“I was a sociology and anthropology major in college,” says Dr. Balogun, Chief Medical Officer – Ambulatory Services at Inspira Health. “I am fascinated by the way an individual’s experience can influence a larger society, and vice versa.” 

Dr. Balogun had planned to channel that passion into a career in law. But when a family member suffered a sudden health crisis, everything changed. “It was my first time seeing the care that’s needed for a significant illness,” she says. “It gave me this different frame of mind for how I can help people.” 

That desire to help people led her to Occupational and Environmental Medicine, an area of medicine that looks at the environment in which you live and work to discover its impact on health. 

“We need to make sure we understand the nuances of each community and work with them to implement changes that are actually helpful and sustainable.”

“For instance, many of us of us are exposed to potentially dangerous environments in the course of a 40-hour work week, whether we know it or not,” says Dr. Balogun. “If you’re in an office setting, there’s a risk of carpal tunnel or strain injuries. If you’re working in a factory, you may end up with heart health issues related to chemicals. Every profession comes with risk, big or small.” 

This specialty allowed her to care for an individual, then step back and ask, “How can we take this problem and develop and apply a solution to as many people as possible?” 

Executing that problem-solving creativity on a larger scale requires far more skills than just medicine, she says. In her leadership role, she welcomes managing the collaboration of different areas – communications, administration, advocacy, legal and social services. 

Today, she oversees urgent care, occupational/ employee health, and Inspira’s physician group of 200-plus providers. Dr. Balogun also works to improve access to healthcare for all community members. That means addressing issues before a patient even needs urgent care or an ER visit through outreach and education. 

Since being promoted to her current position, Dr. Balogun has been instrumental in reducing health disparities across South Jersey through proactive initiatives. She dedicated her first year as chief medical officer for ambulatory services to integrating herself into the communities Inspira serves to better understand their health concerns and needs. Now in her second year, she leads programs that are effectively addressing those health needs. 

“We need to make sure we understand the nuances of each community and work with them to implement changes that are actually helpful and sustainable,” Dr. Balogun says. 

No two communities are the same, she adds, and each county in South Jersey has its own unique health needs. It may be smoking cessation programs in one county, and diabetes management in another. 

Some initiatives address the needs of even larger communities across South Jersey, such as cancer screening awareness campaigns and Inspira’s Food Farmacy+ program, which provides access to healthy foods for those who have received medical care and are facing food insecurity. 

One of Inspira’s most successful community programs, she says, is the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, which provides screenings for older adults, preferably before they need major medical interventions. Patients meet with a nurse or provider to review their overall health, current medications and side effects, as well as screen for mental health concerns and early signs of cognitive decline. 

“Though it isn’t the intent, we have found patients in a mental health crisis,” she says. “For those who aren’t in crisis, the visit sets a baseline partnership between the patient and healthcare worker. It creates a level of trust that makes our seniors feel comfortable when they need care down the line.” 

Experience has taught her that there is rarely a society-wide problem with just one solution. And when a multi-disciplinary approach is needed, Dr. Balogun is the one to make it happen – serving as a link that ensures everyone has access to the right support, whether it’s an individual in the community with a health problem, a school nurse trying to keep kids safe during a pandemic or healthcare workers who are so focused on caring for others they may not seek care for themselves. 

I work to create a team that can address all facets of a patient’s or a population’s needs,” says Dr. Balogun.

“There is so much information out there and so many resources available, but they’re useless if they don’t reach the right people,” says Balogun. “It’s not enough to have the programs people need – you need to provide it in a way that impacts their lives.”



Inspira Health
1-800-INSPIRA |