Dr. Sitembile Lee D.O. has always had a desire for helping the less fortunate. She now is able to fulfill her passion at Community Health Northwest Florida by helping people receive the primary healthcare they need.
“I believe everybody, no matter what race, gender, or wherever you’re from, should have access to healthcare” Dr. Lee says. “We all have bodies, we all have health conditions.”
Dr. Sitembile Lee (her first name, pronounced See tim bil lee, is an African name meaning “Trust”) was recently named Director of Family Medicine at Community Health. Her new position expands her role and reach to provide access to all, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or ability to pay.
Born in New Jersey, Dr. Lee moved to Brantley, Alabama, when her grandparents retired and moved south. Small-town living opened her eyes to the urgent need of healthcare.
“There is a shortage of medical providers in general,” Dr. Lee says. “Back in my hometown it’s one family practice doctor, and he’s been there for years.”
Dr. Lee’s ambition to become a doctor led her to Alabama A & M University for her undergraduate degree. She went on to earn a Master’s of Biomedical Science from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine-GA Campus. She completed her residency at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley, a community-based family medicine residency.
During her residency, Dr. Lee started searching for a job similar to the one in Foley.
“I did a job search and came across Community Health Northwest Florida,” Lee says. “During the interview I realized this is where I always wanted to work, in an underserved community similar to where I grew up. So I decided to come to this lovely community.”
Since 1992, Community Health (formerly Escambia Community Clinics) has served as a medical home for those most in need in our community. It was designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in 2007 by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA), and received funding from the Federal Health Center Program.
More than 80 percent of Community Health patients are below the poverty line, and nearly 50 percent are children under 18 years, clear indicators of the health inequities in our community.
Today in 2023, Community Health Northwest Florida has grown from a small outpatient primary care clinic to 19 multi-service locations, providing access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare services to more than 53,000 people throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
As an Adult & Family physician, Dr. Lee treats a wide variety of patients, which makes it possible to help the underprivileged get their medical needs met.
Dr. Lee wants the people in our community to know that they can come here to Community Health Northwest Florida to see a medical provider without worrying about the cost. “I don’t feel like the community understands everything that we can offer here at Community Health,” Lee says. “For instance, I think a lot of people are just now finding out that we have our own in-house pharmacies here. So, it’s like a one-stop shop.”