"Between the impactful service positions, the learning and development opportunities, and the ability to collaborate and bond with like-minded individuals, I knew that the NHC Florida AmeriCorps program was right for me."
Hometown: Coats, North Carolina
Educational background: Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with minor in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill; Master’s degree in Physiology from NC State
Host Site: Sulzbacher Village Pediatric Health Center and Sulzbacher Beaches Clinic
What is your title and role at your host site?
I am serving as a Care Coordinator at the Sulzbacher Village Pediatric Health Center. My position is new and is multifaceted in nature. A primary role in my position is to screen pediatric patients for social determinants of health and connect them with resources to fill any unmet needs they may be experiencing. I then follow up with the family to see if they have utilized any provided resources in order to create a closed-loop referral system. As part of an effort to provide the local community with access to care, I coordinate with organizations serving marginalized youth to ensure these individuals receive care. I also coordinate the centering parenting classes, recruiting new mothers and providing Village residents with information about the classes. Additionally, I distribute Direct Relief items to residents and help clients at the Beaches clinic access medications through prescription assistance programs.
Why did you join the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps program?
I initially became interested in AmeriCorps because I believe that all people have value and deserve the empowerment to thrive, so I wanted to devote a year of my time solely to serving others. I also felt a desire to be part of the effort to reduce the large disparities in access to healthcare in the US. When a friend told me about the National Health Corps program, I immediately knew that it was what I wanted to do. As I looked into the program further, I was excited about the community that NHC Florida fosters amongst its members. Between the impactful service positions, the learning and development opportunities, and the ability to collaborate and bond with like-minded individuals, I knew that the NHC Florida AmeriCorps program was right for me.
What are you hoping to gain from your year of service?
I always like exploring new places, so I am excited to get to know Jacksonville as well as get to know my fellow AmeriCorps members. I am also excited to learn from an organization with a focus on the intersection between clinical medicine and public health. In school I have learned about the social determinants of health and I am excited to see how these can be identified and addressed from within a clinical environment. I hope that I am able to make a difference in the lives of individuals in Jacksonville through my service, but I am most hopeful that I will gain a fuller understanding of how clinicians can address the social determinants of health and how I might facilitate this in my future career as a physician.
What are your plans after AmeriCorps service?
I am currently applying to medical school, and I am hoping to begin in the fall of 2019. I am interested in MD/MPH programs and would like to eventually work in the field of global health, although I like to keep my mind and plans open for inspiration.
Where do you envision yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I will hopefully be finishing up medical school and applying to residencies. My ultimate goal is to become a physician and serve vulnerable populations who may not otherwise have access to the quality care that they deserve.