National Blog

As AmeriCorps members, we take the pledge to “get things done.” “Getting things done” is the AmeriCorps slogan; it is printed on our lanyards, and it is the hashtag on the AmeriCorps social media posts. My experience with Richard has taught me that “getting things done” is not just about approaching your service with energy and ambition. It is not just about being self-motivated and eager to make a difference. “Getting things done” also requires patience.
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Through personal daily contact with patients, I have learned the power of speaking to individuals--not at them-- and listening and responding to their personal needs and concerns. There is nothing more rewarding than sitting down with a patient who may be battling chronic pain or food insecurity, and reassuring them we have programs and resources in place to provide them with support and solutions.
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I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world and getting to learn about their cultures as we cross paths at the Welcome Center. Our ideas of healthy lifestyles are not always one and the same, as I have learned much about alternative health practices in other countries. For a newcomer, a healthy lifestyle can be difficult to navigate in a country that you are just starting to get familiar with.
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While the population I serve are primarily residents of West Philadelphia, I do get the chance to interact with patients that have just recently immigrated to Philadelphia. Learning about resources like the Philadelphia Department of Public Health-Health Centers, they come with hopes of being connected to healthcare and social services, where we try to help regardless of insurance status or documentation.
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These are just things I did as a part of my service with National Health Corps AmeriCorps or on my own. I couldn’t stand to know there was something more I could do and then not do it. And I’m not the only one – every NHC member did something to contribute this holiday season.
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As a student who studied and researched health and medicine throughout college, I do not find the medical lingo and illnesses foreign as I have become accustomed to the norms and terms. I constantly try to remind myself and not taken aback when someone asks me, “Is a blood sugar of 300 high?” or “I only take my blood pressure medication when I start feeling funny."
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As I acclimated to my role at the clinic, I often found myself asking, “How can I help? What more can I do?” Luckily, I have a wealth of information through my fellow National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps members and the Sulzbacher Center that I can use to help connect clients to the medical, behavioral, and housing services they need.
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"That is when it dawned on me that some people may not even attempt to navigate the health care system. Whether they feel it is a language barrier or patients do not know what to ask or who to call, all patients deserve access to healthcare services. The unique positions at SHHC have made me realize the necessity in offering patients the option of having someone schedule their appointments to improve their access to specialty services. "
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