Working Together to get the Job Done

Going into my year of service as a Health Educator, one of my top priorities has been to learn about preventative healthcare measures, such as health education and access to health care. During my first weeks serving at the Respiratory Health Association, I have quickly realized that successful implementation of preventative healthcare measures is dependent on collaboration between people of various professions, such as the educators, researchers, and lawyers that I work with on a daily basis.

As a health educator, I, along with two of my fellow AmeriCorps members, work with students, parents, and school staff to build awareness around asthma management. The goal of the programs that we deliver is to empower communities to take healthcare into their own hands. We access the community through school programming. Thus, we can only deliver as many programs as schools are willing to accept.

Last year, the Respiratory Health Association saw a significant increase in the number of schools interested in having our programs, partly because of a new policy implemented in schools that requires teachers who work with asthmatic students to be trained in asthma management every two years. That policy has encouraged more schools to agree to host our programs, which has increased both our access to communities and community members' access to our educational resources.

My experience as a Health Educator has helped me realize the power of schools as community resources for health education, and the role of policy in ensuring that health education is widely available and accessible. Furthermore, I have learned that effective health policy is created through collaboration between community members, reserachers, policy advocates, and policy makers. Research leads to effective policy that influences access to health education. My service at the Respiratory Health Association has truly broadened my idea of healthcare and healthcare workers. I now see that there is a role for every profession in the world of healthcare. My goal as an aspiring physician is to think about how I can incorporate people from various professions into my practice to expand the reach of healthcare services.

This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2017-18 member Emonii Robinson.

Emonii is a health educator at the Respiratory Health Association.