A Place at the Table

Posted on: February 12, 2021New York

My first 3 months of service as a nutrition outreach and health educator in Peekskill, NY have taken place in Monroe, WA. Given the current circumstance of the world, I was not able to serve physically in the community that I would be living in for the next few months – until now! This past weekend, I finally moved to Peekskill with my NHC roommates and have been wondering what service will be like now that I am finally on site. My first week here has been about the same, but from the dining room table of our Peekskill apartment – lots of Teleservice, food distribution outreach calls, writing nutrition curricula in preparation for teaching at Sun River Health. But I have been thinking a lot about the future of medicine and healthcare delivery because of this forced shift towards Telemedicine. I mean, my entire service so far has been only remote, and over the next few weeks, as places begin opening up with a decrease in COVID-19 cases, I will begin being in-person only part-time.  

Healthcare access is an issue across many different communities, and that is why I am excited to be serving with NHC and Sun River Health– to improve access to and quality of healthcare. Telemedicine has been our only alternative in a world facing a pandemic. This entire situation, mode of service, and mode of healthcare delivery make me wonder about the future of medicine and makes me hopeful that Telemedicine might be part of a solution in working towards improving healthcare access and disparities. I feel hopeful as I make calls to patients inviting them to in-person distributions, but I feel just as hopeful when I am able to call a patient and make a video or phone appointment with their provider from the comfort and safety of their own home. Especially during this pandemic with economic hardships and conditions being exacerbated, I have heard so many people over the phone say, “thank you for watching out for us” and I feel that I have helped them in a way only Telemedicine can. They do not need to worry about transportation, exposure to illnesses, or taking time a large chunk of time off of work or away from their family when we schedule their Telemedicine visit.  

Perhaps Telemedicine will continue to be a common and advertised means of healthcare delivery, improving access to healthcare for many individuals. Of course, Telemedicine is not the end-all-be-all of solutions to healthcare access; there are many more underlying individual and systemic issues in healthcare access and delivery: access to telephonic and internet connections might be limited or there might be technological issues. Even these difficulties with Telemedicine give us information and feedback for a more equitable and accessible method of healthcare delivery. I like to think that my role from the kitchen table of my Peekskill apartment is a small step in large-scale healthcare access, care, and education improvement. 

Brianna Celix serves as a nutrition outreach and health educator for Sun River Health in Peekskill, NY.

Host Site

1037 Main Street
Peekskill NY, 10566
1037 Main Street
Peekskill NY, 10566