National Health Corps Pittsburgh Blog

"As a lifelong student, I felt compelled to find solutions to the theoretical problems I’ve been learning about in the classroom for the past several years. As a young professional, I’ve been searching for a career that allows me to contribute to a scope much larger than myself. I chose to serve with the National Health Corps Pittsburgh to guide my interests, build a network, and improve the care of under-served communities."
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"For my first service project at the Bloomfield-Garfield Family Health Center, I am helping to implement a clinic food pantry to address food insecurity among the clinic’s patient population. I have previously volunteered with organizations that help to increase access to healthy foods for vulnerable populations and those in need. Common barriers to access that I observed while volunteering with these organizations often included transportation, financial, and health-related mobility issues."
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"While I am exploring the community that has been home to me, it is fascinating that my fellow corps members have traveled from all over the United States to Pittsburgh for the same goal - serving the Pittsburgh community. For the next ten months, we will certainly learn about ourselves, each other, and most importantly the needs of this community. Although the needs of Pittsburgh are likely to be uniquely complex from many others places, I am positive that the themes learned from the National Health Corps will be representative of many communities nationally and even internationally and will aid in our diverse future careers."
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"One of the questions all applicants to NHC Pittsburgh are asked is “what does service mean to you.” Before I began my first service term in 2016, I thought I knew what service was. I had volunteered with various organizations in various capacities throughout high school and college. I had dedicated both time and money to causes whose mission I supported. But when you are completing a full-time service year with AmeriCorps, service begins to take on a different meaning."
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"I had no idea what to expect when I moved to Pittsburgh last August to begin my year of service. I was nervous, yet excited to be living in a new city where I knew hardly anyone. The first few days of orientation were jam-packed with information. We were given a crash course on AmeriCorps and the duties of National Health Corps members. Our director, Beci, stressed the importance of using each other for support and collaboration throughout the year. I recall looking around the room at all the new faces, and feeling unsure if this group of strangers would all get along."
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"High blood pressure (HBP) is one of the most significant chronic disease issues that we face today from a public health perspective. It is an incredibly common condition with more than 1 out of every 3 adults having a diagnosis. If you don’t have high blood pressure, chances are that you have friends or family members who do. Despite this near universality (or perhaps because of it), there is often a lack of understanding on what HBP is, what its consequences are, and how it can be properly managed."
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"In 2017, 4,400 individuals spent 19,600 hours volunteering at my host site, Global Links. During that time, thousands of boxes of medical materials were packed, hundreds of crutches, canes, and wheelchairs were prepared for new owners, tons of scrubs were assessed and sorted, and countless laughs and smiles were shared by the volunteers at Global Links."
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"The primary care providers that I have interacted with this year are determined and passionate about helping their patients. The fact is, providers often have limited time and capacity to provide these essential services alone. Fortunately, there are numerous, committed healthcare team members that do an incredible job of providing holistic care to patients."
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"I distinctly recall Katie coming to our office in a frenzy on a Tuesday afternoon about two hours prior to Suboxone clinic starting. She had just been stripped of her purse, keys, and wallet on the bus. But instead of immediately filing a police report, she came to us because she was worried she would miss her scheduled appointment and thus not receive her weekly Suboxone strips. I believe it was this fierce determination and willingness to ask for help that helped Katie turn her life around for the better."
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