How NHC Has Facilitated my Public Health Awareness
If you thought that you would stop learning once you join the National Health Corps, you have the wrong idea. NHC has facilitated my public health awareness through their training days and their fantastic host site selections. I never thought I would be learning more about public health topics, but NHC and NHC Chicago brings in great speakers that elaborate and provide knowledge on current public health issues. My public health knowledge is broad because I majored in public health; however, listening to these great public health speakers keeps my mind refreshed and informed.
NHC currently has eight training focus areas which are: NHC requirements and expectations, public health knowledge, public health practice skills, communication, data-driven program design and evaluation, cultural responsibility, ethical and value-based practices, and civic engagement. NHC's commitment to keeping its members updated on current public health issues is apparent. Orientation was full of training sessions, but I am grateful to have received them because they have helped me accomplish my deliverables during my service year. I have also learned a lot from attending NHC Chicago Member Meeting and Training Days. Yes, NHC designates days for you to keep learning throughout the service year. Some of the training sessions that NHC and NHC Chicago has coordinated are about ethical practices, trauma-informed practices, aging, structural racism, communication skill-building, defining social determinants of health, how to receive and give feedback, combating implicit bias, and the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health. Even though some of the training sessions are not directly related to your host site service, it is great to learn about these topics and skills that we will use one day.
One of the training sessions I learned a lot from was the aging presentation because I am directly serving older adults at my host site. I learned that I had an implicit bias about older adults. Nonetheless, the training allowed me to shift my thinking to think positively about aging. My changed perspective has manifested into all the relationships I have built with older adults at my host site. I have developed caring relationships with members of the Kelvyn Park Senior Center.
My host site, the Northwest Side Housing Center, has also been fantastic for facilitating public health learning for their team and AmeriCorps members. I have received training on gender affirmation practices in actions, addressing structural racism through a racial healing circle, vicarious trauma, and most recently on, community resilience initiative. I have enjoyed my time as a service member and am looking forward to implementing my public health practice skills with everyone that I serve.