National Health Corps Pittsburgh Blog

"I’m convinced that it was just yesterday that my roommates and I walked into our first day of pre-service orientation (PSO) and recited the AmeriCorps pledge. The feelings of excitement of the unknowns of what the service year could bring occupied my mind the night before our first day. I’ve been reflecting a lot on these memories lately, especially now that we are just a month away from finishing out our program. I’ve created a lot of new memories since that first week of PSO, and many involve the stories of the individuals that I’ve had the pleasure of serving."
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"Let’s face it, we all love food, right? As the Diabetes QI Coordinator at Shadyside Family Health Center, I get to talk about food, a lot. One of my major roles is to sit down with patients who have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes to discuss management strategies. The majority of the time, this conversation turns to food. Usually, I have the patient walk me through their typical eating day, so that we can discuss modifications such as adding vegetables at dinner time, or substituting the kind of carbohydrates they are eating at breakfast. However, I began to recognize a pattern in the conversations that I was having. Many of my patients reported they knew what they should be eating, but were not because they could not afford to do so."
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"Let’s talk about the definition of “service”. Often, people automatically think of “helping others. At first glance, both words have good meaning. The difference between these words, “helping” and “serving”, are quite significant. Something to be cautious of is by “helping” people we are inadvertently looking at people as if they are on a different level than us. By “serving” people we are looking at them as if we are equals and they are whole. With that, we can benefit those by building them up instead of diminishing what it is to be, their human-self."
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"When I begin to reminisce on my time in National Health Corps, I think back on the AmeriCorps pledge I read out loud on my first day. The same pledge I stare at everyday above my desk. As I read the first line, I think about how my position and other positions in NHC all work to make the people of Pittsburgh safer, smarter, and healthier. Within my position I take on many roles that work towards achieving that goal."
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"As the service year begins to draw to a close, I am left reflecting upon the experiences and growth that this year has given me while still trying to soak up as much as I can in my last two months here. My experiences with the Birmingham Free Clinic have undoubtedly been a catalyst for growth for myself and have pushed me to think, learn, and do things differently each day. I have learned so much about the healthcare system, the people it serves, and the people who slip through its cracks. My understanding of underserved populations has grown ten-fold along with my knowledge of barriers and social determinants of health. My love for public health continues to grow each day, as well."
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"As the service year begins to draw to a close, I am left reflecting upon the experiences and growth that this year has given me while still trying to soak up as much as I can in my last two months here. My experiences with the Birmingham Free Clinic have undoubtedly been a catalyst for growth for myself and have pushed me to think, learn, and do things differently each day. I have learned so much about the healthcare system, the people it serves, and the people who slip through its cracks. My understanding of underserved populations has grown ten-fold along with my knowledge of barriers and social determinants of health. My love for public health continues to grow each day, as well."
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"For many, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a term that is important to use instead of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The idea of an infection is much less scary than that of a disease, and considering how many STIs do not necessarily turn into a disease, many feel that this term is more accurate. There have been numerous times throughout this year where I have met with community members and those in academia to discuss the services offered at Allegheny County Health Department’s STD/HIV Program, and I have been corrected and told that I should be using the term “STI” instead."
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"Overall, these three new initiatives are true testaments to the power of connections and tapping into established networks to reduce barriers to accessing preventative health services. Simple things like obtaining free and easily accessible condoms, clean water, and more time for doctors to listen and patients to feel empowered really go a long way."
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"Over the past few weeks, it has become increasingly difficult to miss news headlines covering the high and rising prices of insulin. It is a point of scrutiny for pharmaceutical companies as many patients with diabetes need daily doses to survive. Yet many of these same patients find themselves in a difficult place: their insurance will partially cover the cost, but they are responsible for covering an often stifling out-of-pocket portion."
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"Because of my AmeriCorps position at the Shadyside Family Health Center, our patients with depression and other mental illnesses receive additional follow-up and support that they wouldn’t otherwise. The patients I connect with gain an additional supportive person on the team to answer questions, help connecting with a behavioral therapist, help scheduling psychiatry appointments, additional treatment recommendations from our psychiatrist, and/or a supportive group environment to learn more about their disease."
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