Navigating Life After Undergrad & The Weight of Service in a Community
For me, the path to medical school was foreseen as straight and narrow. I was swept into the understanding that you submit your medical school application in your junior year of undergraduate, your interviews take place during senior year, and then off to medical school you go just shy of three months after graduating. The thought of it all was overwhelming to say the least. On the other hand though, a gap year seemed just as daunting. Trying to figure out what to do with your life in a transient period of time is quite the challenge. While researching the popular question “what to do in a gap year before medical school?” I surprisingly stumbled upon hundreds of possibilities, which brings me to my current role with the National Health Corps.
I serve at The Players Center for Child Health (TPC) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital as a Care Coordinator. TPC is the advocacy center for Wolfson’s that aids in keeping children outside the hospital walls. My role as a care coordinator is to assist families with enrolling in a health insurance plan through Medicaid or Florida KidCare, educating families on keeping kids healthy, informing about various injury prevention topics, and teaching curriculum to children about doctor visits, germs, and the importance of nutrition. Another aspect of my position is the training opportunities I have been able to attend. Thus far, I have become a certified car seat technician, allowing me to assist caregivers with proper installation of car seats, as well as received my certification for fitting children for bike helmets, all aiding in the mission to keep children as safe as possible.
With this position and all of its responsibilities, I have been given endless opportunities to expand my knowledge of the world of healthcare, understand the need in underserved communities, along with acknowledging its urgency, and develop valuable skills as a future physician. With all of that being said, I believe the greatest takeaway from this position is learning the true meaning of service. Before coming into this role, I only had a surface-level understanding of what service really meant. However, being a NHC member and serving with TPC I have begun to dig deeper and grasp the impact that service can have.
Access to healthcare and trust within the healthcare system are of huge importance in today’s society, and having a role that works to tackle those barriers is gratifying. In addition, working to resolve health disparities and acknowledging social determinants of health has been extremely eye opening, and has provided a whole new perspective from the other side of healthcare that not many people get to see. With all that I am learning from serving with TPC, I plan to continue implementing this knowledge through working with underserved populations on a community level as a pediatric physician, while advocating for empathy in the system of healthcare.