Hometown: Van Alstyne, TX
Educational background: Bachelor of Science in Biology with Minors in Chemistry & Pre-Health from Texas A&M University - Texarkana
What is your title and role at your host site?
I will be serving as a Patient Navigator serving with individuals seeking recovery from addiction and substance abuse disorders. My role involves helping patients become productive, healthy, self-sufficient citizens along their journey to treatment and recovery. I will serve as the link between patients, providers, and care services and help them access resources such as counseling, peer support, prenatal care, mental health care, and life skills education to fulfill the need of sustained recovery. Additionally, I will use motivational interviewing techniques to influence clients in detox to continue treatment after their stay and assess their readiness for change. I will also provide wellness education, skills workshops, and informational sessions to patients undergoing detox on multiple topics including regular physician and dentist visits, Narcan usage, parenting, finance, stress management, childcare, chronic disease prevention and management, nutrition and accessing social services.
Why did you join the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps program?
I aim to one day have a career working in medicine and healthcare, caring for patients. I believe working as a National Health Corps Member will be a life-changing experience and opportunity to grow and develop skills while equally giving back to the community and serving. The knowledge, connections, hands-on experience, and the other skills that will come with this opportunity will stick with me for a lifetime and be paramount in my future career in medicine and allow me to make a difference in the lives of patients and their communities. I hope my service as a Health Corps Member will help prepare me for the real world and give me an opportunity to truly connect with future patients and develop a close bond as an individual who understands their hurdles and their journey, especially those in underserved communities.
What are you hoping to gain from your year of service?
Growing up in a small town in north Texas and going to college in an equally small town in east Texas, my work and volunteer experiences in healthcare are specific to surrounding patient population in the area. While this has certainly taught me invaluable skills and knowledge, I want to expand upon my experience and encounter a new facet of healthcare by serving a more diverse and different patient population that contrasts the communities I have grown up in. I want to learn and understand the struggles of patient populations from an urban perspective in an entirely new state and recognize the different barriers to access and care that patients face. I aspire to help patients overcome these barriers and recognize their struggles as well as make a difference in impacting underserved and low-income communities. I want my year of service to be an experience that will stick with me for a lifetime and be paramount in preparing me for a future career in medicine.
What are your plans after AmeriCorps service?
After my year of service, I hope to apply to medical schools and pursue further opportunities to work in healthcare with patients while applying, either through another term of AmeriCorps service or clinical employment positions.
Where do you envision yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I plan to be enrolled in medical school and preparing to apply to residency programs. I hope to continue working with underserved patients and making an impact in my local communities, employing skills that I learned or developed from serving with the National Health Corps.