RJ Tapales

"When I read about National Health Corps I knew it was the program I was looking for."

Hometown: Roswell, GA

Educational background: B.S. in Exercise Science; Minor in Health Promotion. Kennesaw State University

Host Site: Florida Department of Health, Baker County

What is your title and role at your host site?
At my host site, I will be serving as a Health Educator. I will be assisting the Health Education program to increase educational awareness and prevention services that improve the quality of life for the residents in Baker County.  I will be assigned different projects that will focus on the community’s health such as: health and wellness education, positive youth development, youth drug and violence prevention, tobacco education and cessation, nutrition education, diabetes support services and health screenings.

Why did you join the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps program?
When thinking about my plans after graduation I didn’t feel that I was ready to go back to school, or start working. I knew I wanted to do something that I believed was meaningful and productive, but I wasn’t sure what. A mentor told me about AmeriCorps, so I started looking through all the different opportunities they had. After researching the various programs, National Health Corps (NHC) stuck out the most to me. I was looking for a program that would let me educate others on healthier lifestyle choices, while learning valuable skills that I could use to better serve others in the future. When I read about National Health Corps I knew it was the program I was looking for.

What are you hoping to gain from your year of service?
Professional and personal development. I’m hoping that after serving with the FDOH I will have a better idea on how the health of communities can be improved. Along with that I hope to gain experience that will help me become a better healthcare professional. I really hope that I can also learn more about myself, and how I can be a better person for others.

What are your plans after AmeriCorps service?
After AmeriCorps, I plan to look for a job as some type of health educator, or pursue a higher education. If decode to continue my education, I would like to work towards a Master’s in Public Health focusing on health education for communities and families.

Where do you envision yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I hope that I am either in a job that I love or at least working towards it. I envision myself in a position where I am helping others manage their chronic disease. I want to educate others about the importance of proper nutrition, a positive mindset and other healthier lifestyle choices.


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