Position Title: Community Health and Prevention Coordinator
Where are you from?
Why did you decide to join NHC?
As an undergraduate, I had a somewhat nontraditional college experience; I attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh for two years in their School of Health Sciences, transferred to Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts where I studied Environmental Studies, and took a year off of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In reflecting on the past 5 years and deciding how to spend the coming year, I searched for a common thread that tied all of my experiences and interests together, and found that what remained constant was a commitment to studying and addressing health from an interdisciplinary perspective, which is at the core of what public health is. I joined the National Health Corps because I believe this work will allow me to continue to explore the intersections between environment and health as well as improve the health of communities through an acknowledgment of historical and systematic forms of oppression. Ultimately, I chose to work with National Health Corps because I wish to use the knowledge I have gained in school to help build the resilience of the communities I grew up in. In an essay by William Cronon on the goals of a liberal arts education, it is said that “the community empowers the free individual, just as it is free individuals who lead and empower the community,” but that “in the act of making us free, [an education] also binds us to the communities that gave us our freedom in the first place; it makes us responsible to those communities.” I owe so very much to this community and thus am dedicated to helping it become as equitable a place as possible.
What are you hoping to gain or learn during your service term?
Through my time serving with National Health Corps, I hope to be challenged to critically analyze complex societal barriers to health and develop concrete and effective solutions. My belief is that through the combination of direct, hands on work at the structural, community, and individual level, I will become more confident and practiced in my ability to enact change in ways that tangibly impact lives. I also hope to gather knowledge from various sources – through conversations with mentors, interactions with community members and community organizations, trainings on diverse topics, and engagement with fellow AmeriCorps members – because I believe that each provides an invaluable opportunity for learning and personal growth. Finally, I am excited to have the chance to pursue some of my personal interests through my position this year and hope that in doing so, I will hone in on specific health related topics and further strengthen my ability to direct my own learning.
What are you most looking forward to during your service term?
I’m most excited to be able to collaborate with various community members and community partners in many different capacities and love that my service will involve something different on a day to day basis. In my position, I will get the chance to connect directly with those I am serving as well as participate in a lot of the behind the scenes efforts to create environments that support broader community health. I like that I’ll have such a mixture of types of learning and service and am eager to see how public health efforts by stakeholders in a wide range of settings come together and intertwine in a real-world example. Though I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for most of my life, there are innumerable resources and organizations that exist in the city and the larger Allegheny County aimed at improving individual and community health and counteracting pervasive health inequities, so I am looking forward to gaining an alternative perspective on the area I’ve grown up in and learning about the many community supports I was previously less aware of. I’m also really excited to have the chance to learn and serve with a cohort of close-in-age, like-minded individuals for an extended period of time and hope we share meaningful experiences we will take with us for the rest of our lives.