Building Relationships and Tackling Health Disparities

Thus far in my service year I have learned that successfully navigating the world of public health requires collaboration. It’s impossible for any one individual or organization to meet Chicago’s health needs without tapping into other resources. Along the same lines, I have already learned that I cannot successfully complete my service year without my fellow National Health Corps members.

Building esprit de corps with other NHC members has been crucial to successfully serving my clients. The service that we are all doing as health educators, patient navigators, and outreach coordinators is necessary and important, but it can also be very physically and emotionally draining.  In order for me to fully meet the needs of my clients, I have to make sure that I am meeting my own needs. To combat exhaustion and burnout, it is always helpful to have healthy outlets to release stress and to create time for fun and relaxation. The corps is a great support system to have as I am living in a new city and tackling health disparities. Simple events like movie nights, organized dinners, and random excursions around the city help to ease the burdens that I feel.  We are constantly communicating about trainings and sharing advice and helpful resources with one another so it’s really hard to feel alone or unsupported.

Serving with NHC has not only shown me the importance of creating and maintaining relationships, but also that establishing social networks is crucial in the medical world. Having a group of like-minded people around encourages problem-solving and creative thinking. Simply implementing these two skills into service translates to an improved understanding for the quality of care for patients and clients.

This blog post was written by 2018-19 NHC Chicago member Jada McDonald.

Jada is a Health Educator at Respiratory Health Association.