My Service Experience

Posted on: May 31, 2022Philadelphia

My time with NSC has given me the opportunity to meet some truly resilient and good-hearted people. I’ve gained new colleagues through which I networked and new acquaintances within the communities I serve. For the past 10 months, I have been serving as a health access coordinator and had the pleasure of linking immigrant and refugee populations to dental providers in the city of Philadelphia. Additionally, I conducted Dental Access/Health orientations for clients. Serving with NSC taught me to identify common barriers to healthcare and collaborate with others to address these barriers in innovative ways. Primarily, I act as the liaison for the partnership between NSC and the vulnerable populations clinic at Penn Dental Medicine. Through this partnership, so many people denied access to great dental care can receive treatment at no cost. Supporting this clinic has been a pleasure as it is truly an honor to work with health professionals that not only believe in, but also provide, access to dental services for the most vulnerable. 

A group of people in blue scrubs and masks with one person in a pink hoodie in the back and one person in a gray hoodie on the right of the group. All are posed and looking at the camera, presumably smiling under their masks.
me in the pink hoodie and blue mask working with Penn Dental during during
an NSC/PDM Pop-up dental clinic at the Marriott Residence Inn

The exposure to community engagement and outreach has been invaluable in that I have gained a deeper understanding of what underserved communities experience and it is this newfound understanding that has caused my fiery passion for Public Health to burn even hotter. I admit, I was a little worried about being disheartened upon realizing how seemingly impossible it is for refugee communities to access reliable and equitable benefits. However, I found that with each client I was unable to serve due to these barriers, it only made me want to work that much harder to find sustainable solutions. Even though I'm aware of the fact that there is much out of my control, I still value the lessons learned as I will carry them with me as my career continues to grow in the Public Health landscape.


About the Author:

Mike Fickling

Pronouns: he/him

Host Site: Nationalities Service Center

Position Title: Health Access Liaison

Where are you from?  Originally from the Northern, VA area

Why did you decide to join NHC? After 3 years of supporting various projects in global health, I wanted to become more familiar with domestic health systems and support those in need in my own communities. 

Host Site

1216 Arch Street
1216 Arch Street