Health Care Hero: People facing anxiety, depression due to coronavirus

The Dayton Daily News is profiling the people who work hard every day to save lives and take care of us. Nominate a Health Care Hero by emailing

Name: Matthew Neff

Hometown (where you live now): Dayton

Job Title: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Where do you work? OneFifteen Outpatient


Describe what your day is like/what you do: I do a little bit of everything. Patients see me first when they come in, and I ask how they are doing and what’s new with them. I like knowing about my patients’ lives. I obtain vitals, weight and a urine drug screen for most doctor visits. I help with ordering/picking up medications from the pharmacy, take phone calls, schedule patients, order supplies, fill out lab requisitions, and some other unexpected things throughout the day.

What inspired you to get into health care? I really like health care because I enjoy helping other people and making them feel a little better about their day. I’ve watched my mom struggle with health problems over the years. She had a leg injury, which led to multiple surgeries and eventually to the amputation of her leg. Since then she has been in and out of the hospital with other problems and is planning another major surgery in about a month. I started working in urgent care and never thought I would end up in substance abuse services. Dr. Tellez told me about the open position and here I am five years later. I enjoy trying to help people that struggle with addiction every day, giving them some hope and encouragement. I plan on working around addiction for the rest of my life.

Health Care Hero: ‘I became a nurse to make a difference’

What inspired you to get into health care? There’s been a lot of good and bad memorable experiences. One would be when a co-worker and I were called to check on a guy that wasn’t feeling good in a group session. My co-worker grabbed the AED because of past experiences and we went over to the group room. When we got there, the patient was passed out on the floor and was a blue-grey color. My co-worker administered Narcan, started the AED, and I started CPR while we waited on the ambulance to arrive. When paramedics arrived we had normal color to the patient and he was breathing but still unresponsive. We weren’t sure if he was going to survive and went two weeks without knowing what happened, until we saw him back in treatment one day. It felt really good to know we were able to save his life.

What do you want readers to know about your job right now? I want people to know that COVID-19 has had a big impact on people struggling with substance abuse and mental health problems. Most people I talk to on a daily basis describe to me how challenging it is for them to not be able to go places or have their group therapy. People are having more anxiety and dealing with depression. They need people to check on them, talk to them and make sure they are OK. Addiction and mental health is a constant battle, and I hope people stay strong and get the help they need.

Health Care Hero: ‘I really love my job’

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