Santa Rosa, CA
“One may ask, how do you chart kindness, compassion? How do you charge for empathy? When a healthcare provider truly cares, it is priceless,” said a colleague of Jose Morales, MD.
As a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa for the past 23 years, Dr. Morales is known for his ability to make his patients feel valued and validated. The children he cared for at the beginning of his career now bring their children to see him. “Often, true healing happens while addressing the complex and frequently overlooked aspects of a child’s life,” he says. “The extra effort builds trust, and when a patient discovers you care on a fundamental level, real healing magic begins.”
Dr. Morales is a strong advocate for the children and families of Santa Rosa, especially among the Latino community. As the son of an immigrant, he has a unique understanding of the immigrant experience faced by many of his patients. His patients often express that Dr. Morales is one of very few physicians who will tirelessly listen to their concerns and address their needs. He regularly goes above and beyond mere medicine to help his patients. From writing letters of recommendation for college applications, to helping families with the immigration process, Dr. Morales does it all. “In supporting family well-being this way, I am helping create a more solid foundation for my pediatric patients to become successful adults,” he said.
According to his staff, no issue is too small, no complication too cumbersome for him to address with each patient one-onone. One patient said that being with Dr. Morales makes them “feel like I am with an uncle, or a wise relative that really cares about my personal well-being.”
He is an active volunteer in his community, and cites the training he received while earning an MPH as helping him understand the importance of supporting community policy geared toward children. He has been known to distribute books to both parents and children to read, which he has purchased in his free time. His younger patients often invite him to their birthday parties, and older patients invite him to their graduations. Recently, he personally sent a patient a pressure ball for a hip injury because her family could not afford to buy one for her. His patients love him because they know he really cares. Said a colleague, “It is not just a job for him, it is his passion to care for the sick and to champion those who cannot advocate for themselves.”
In addition to caring for his patients, Dr. Morales also cares for his colleagues. “He gives extraordinary and compassionate care to his patients and their families. He also gives extraordinary and compassionate care to other doctors, nurses, medical assistants alike,” said a colleague. Another colleague describes him as “so down to earth, [there’s] no hierarchy with him. He treats everyone as equals.”