National Health Corps Philadelphia Blog

One thing AmeriCorps has taught me is that even doing seemingly small things to help people matters.While I may not be able to get a patient who is uninsured their osteoporosis medication for free, I might be able to save them $50-$100 for the year that they might have to pay otherwise.
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According to the Susan G. Komen foundation, black women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer. This discrepancy mainly comes from the fact that many black women don’t get mammograms until the cancer has progressed to a later stage. Keeping this in mind as I walk into patient rooms keeps me determined to make a difference with the patients at my health center
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Through personal daily contact with patients, I have learned the power of speaking to individuals--not at them-- and listening and responding to their personal needs and concerns. There is nothing more rewarding than sitting down with a patient who may be battling chronic pain or food insecurity, and reassuring them we have programs and resources in place to provide them with support and solutions.
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While the population I serve are primarily residents of West Philadelphia, I do get the chance to interact with patients that have just recently immigrated to Philadelphia. Learning about resources like the Philadelphia Department of Public Health-Health Centers, they come with hopes of being connected to healthcare and social services, where we try to help regardless of insurance status or documentation.
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As a student who studied and researched health and medicine throughout college, I do not find the medical lingo and illnesses foreign as I have become accustomed to the norms and terms. I constantly try to remind myself and not taken aback when someone asks me, “Is a blood sugar of 300 high?” or “I only take my blood pressure medication when I start feeling funny."
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By providing education about nutrition, teaching the skills to prepare meals, and providing information about how and where to purchase nutritious foods, we hope that patients will make healthier choices and improve their life-long health from an early age. We acknowledge the existence of social determinants of health, such as access to transportation or living near a grocery store that sells produce at an affordable price, so we try to provide participants with resources on where they can access food near where they live as well as culturally competent recipes that use shelf-stable items to make cooking more feasible.
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They stressed how important it was that they got the medicine and how thankful they were for my help. Being able to give the patient the help they needed and seeing the positive impact it had really highlighted how important my role is as a patient advocate and made the experience even more worthwhile
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