Alumni

National Health Corps Alumni make up a group of promising health leaders that are dedicated to making a difference in their communities by improving access to healthcare in underserved areas of the U.S. After their National Health Corps service is completed, many go off to pursue bright and promising careers related to their service, and we continue to support them by offering to fund some of their projects and provide opportunities for them to gain and share expertise with current corps members. Check out some of our alumni below.

Udoka S. Obiechefu, MPH (2011-2012)

Epidemiologist at South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

How did you get involved in the National Health Corps, and what did you do during your service?

"My service came about through a desire to work in the community and a commitment to improving the lives of those around me through whatever talents I could offer. During my year of service (2011-2012) I spent time with both Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, Ga and the Georgia Dept. of Public Health as an asthma education associate. Through my work I was able to contribute to the development of asthma certifications for child care centers across Atlanta and also take part in asthma policy development for the state."

What was your most memorable experience during your year of service?

"My most memorable experiences were the weekly opportunities to visit and educate front line educators on asthma and give them the confidence to care for vulnerable children in their facilities."

What have you done since you left NHC, and how did serving with NHC influence your decision?

"Following my service I went on to complete my Master's in Public Health at Armstrong State University. I am currently an infectious disease epidemiologist with the state of South Carolina."

What advice would you give to prospective NHC members? 

"My advice to prospective members is to make the most of this opportunity. It can open up tremendous doors, however it only happens if you actively invest in your service and your future."

 

Kristopher M. Peters, DO, CPT, MC (2007-2008)

U.S Army Dermatology Resident at Naval Medical Center San Diego

How did you get involved in the National Health Corps, and what did you do
during your service?

"I just finished my undergraduate degree and was looking to get involved in the
health care field prior to joining medical school.  The North Florida Health
Corps provided me with the best opportunity to gain experience in the field
while giving back to the community.  I served at the Duval County Jail
providing health information and STI screening for the inmates.  Part of my
project involved making a video so that the inmates could continue receiving
the information after I left.  I also worked with the ArtVentures team and did
weekly art projects with the homeless children at the Sulzbacher Center." 

What was your most memorable experience during your year of service?

"Working with enthusiastic people who all shared the same goal in helping

others and getting experience in the field."

What have you done since you left NHC, and how did serving with NHC
influence your decision?

"Since leaving I attended medical school at Nova Southeastern University and
graduated in 2012 and accepted the Health Professions Scholarship with the US
Army.  I did my internship at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso,
Texas.  After that I was a general medical officer for two years at Fort
Carson, Colorado and served a 1 year tour in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I was
then accepted into a dermatology residency program and just started my second
year at the Naval Medical Center San Diego."

What advice would you give to prospective NHC members?

"You'll never regret making a difference in the lives of other people, and you
cannot get the unique opportunities and experience like you can with the
National Health Corps."

Lowrie Ward, MPH (2006-2007)

Manager, CARE, Practice Transformation at Children's Hospital Association

How did you get involved in the National Health Corps, and what did you do during your service?

"One of my mentors in college, who worked with the student affairs department, suggested AmeriCorps to me because I was having some concerns about going into research science and thought I might like public health. It seemed like a great way to "test the waters" of a career in public health without jumping right into grad school when I wasn't sure about that as a career path. I applied for a few different AmeriCorps positions and the National Health Corps program in Jacksonville, Florida was the best fit! During my service, I supported Healthy Jacksonville, which is an initiative of the Duval County Health Department to bring together community coalitions around different health concerns. I supported projects focused on reducing health disparities, improving community safety, teaching nutrition education, and more!"

What was your most memorable experience during your year of service?

"My most memorable experiences were probably the lessons I learned about health disparities, white privilege, and institutional racism. I worked with amazing and dedicated folks who fight every day to remove barriers to good health and quality of life."

What have you done since you left NHC, and how did serving with NHC influence your decision?

"NHC was definitely the most influential experience of my life. I stayed at the Duval County Health Department for four years after my service and earned my MPH. Then I moved to Washington, DC to work for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (the membership organization for health departments) on a project focused on quality improvement in public health. While I still have a passion for community coalitions, health disparities reduction, and direct service, I now focus my career on health policy and improving institutions and systems. I am concerned that the infrastructure of public health is unsustainable as is and would like to help it grow and reinvent itself. I currently work at the Children's Hospital Association on a Medicaid Innovation project to reduce the cost of care for children with medical complexity."

What advice would you give to prospective NHC members?

"Just do it! You won't regret it and you'll get experiences you can NEVER get in school or even in the "regular" work place. The chance to really help a community while also learning about yourself and your worldviews is remarkable and I'm grateful every day for AmeriCorps' role in my life. "

Sara Eugene, (2007-2009)

Dietary Technician at the Minnesota Public Schools Culinary and Nutrition Services Department

How did you get involved in the National Health Corps, and what did you do during your service?

"I joined the National Health Corps in the summer of 2007; shortly after my graduation from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Nutrition. I knew I wanted to find my niche in community nutrition and public health field, and the North Florida Health Corps was a perfect fit. I served two terms at a total of three host sites. My first term was served at both the University of Florida: Duval County Extension Office in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program and the Jacksonville Children's Commission in the Nutrition Services Department. During this year, I instructed nutrition education in at-risk schools as well as monitored federal food programs for USDA compliance. My second term was served at the Baker County Health Department in Macclenny, Florida. There I worked with the Healthy Start Program; screening women for program participation, providing health education, connecting women with prenatal care, and instructing car seat safety courses to area parents and care providers."

What was your most memorable experience during your year of service?

"My time with NHC was full of memorable experiences, but perhaps the most memorable was volunteering with Give Kids the World Village. GKTWV is a resort in Central Florida that provides free vacations for children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Whether serving food, working at the mini-golf station, or even picking up trash at the resort, I was grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the happiness of children and families during their stay."

What have you done since you left NHC, and how did serving with NHC influence your decision?

"After completing my service with the NHC, I remained in Jacksonville, Florida and was hired by one of my host sites, the Jacksonville Children's Commission. I spent three years working as a Nutrition Assistant; a role that included working with federal food programs as well as conducting community-based nutrition education. My time with the NHC directly influenced this decision, as I was able to build on both the work and the relationship I had developed during my term of service. In 2012, I accepted a position with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) in the Culinary and Nutrition Services Department. In my current role with MPS, I actively work to increase access to quality food as the Coordinator of Extended Meal Programs. This role includes overseeing the implementation, operation, and growth of several federal food programs; including the at-risk Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Program, and School Breakfast Program. My time with the NHC has also directly contributed to my current position; laying the groundwork for not only my knowledge of federal food programs but also influencing my community outreach strategies and public speaking/training techniques."

What advice would you give to prospective NHC members?

"Take advantage of all the NHC has to offer! You will of course gain the "real-life" experience while serving at your site, but there is also a tremendous opportunity for personal growth during your time as a NHC member. Participate in professional development, learn all you can about the city and community in which you're serving, and get to know your fellow Corps members outside of the office. Some of my strongest friendships and working relationships were built with the NHC as the foundation!"