Once I graduated with my BSH, I knew that I could either return to school immediately for my Master’s, or I could go out into the field and gain hands-on experience.
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Educational background: Bachelor’s of Science in Health
Host Site: Starting Point Behavioral Health
What is your title and role at your host site? Health and Wellness Coordinator. I will provide screening and assessments for individuals admitted to the emergency department, as well as coordinating outreach activities to increase patient engagement in mental health services and medicated assisted treatment services. The screening will be for mental health, opioid addiction or substance abuse, and the presence of a primary care provider, as well as case management needs. I will also be collaborating with the clinical director to administer health education with clients on mental health topics, opioid overdoses, Narcan, and addiction. Additionally, I will provide follow up care with the patients and implement patient engagement to improve enrollment and outcomes.
Why did you join the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps program?
I became interested in AmeriCorps when my childhood best friend joined an AmeriCorps NCCC program, and began traveling around the country with a team doing community service, especially in the wake of Hurricane Irma. She studied geology and environmental health, and I studied Public Health. Once I graduated with my BSH, I knew that I could either return to school immediately for my Master’s, or I could go out into the field and gain hands-on experience. I decided that I would love to be out in the community gaining first-hand experience, rather than immediately returning to the classroom. I then considered many non-profits in Jacksonville, until I read about NHCFL. I applied immediately.
What are you hoping to gain from your year of service?
I believe that we never stop learning or growing until we draw our last breath, so I am very excited to learn through experience from my host site, fellow AmeriCorps members, and mentors. For two and a half years, I learned about social determinants of health, health disparities, behavioral health models, program planning, implementation, and evaluation. I am excited to put my acquired knowledge and skills to use in order to serve others at this behavioral health facility and gain an understanding of what it’s really like to work with the public to better their health.
What are your plans after AmeriCorps service?
After my service, I plan to obtain a job at a VA (Veteran’s Affairs) program. I also plan on furthering my education at an accredited Physician Assistant Program.
Where do you envision yourself in 5 years?
I envision myself with my physician assistant degree, obtaining a job at a primary care practice and working at non-profit organizations on my off days. My ultimate goal is to run my own non-profit.