Educational background: B.S Health Management and Policy, B.A Biology, Minor in Healthcare Ethics
What is your title and role at your host site?
I am a Patient Navigator at Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center, an integrated physical/behavioral health primary care center. Within a primary care team, I connect patients with essential services and assist in their health care journey at and beyond PMFHC. I also assist with intervention strategies and coordinate patient support programs which include chronic disease self-management, nutrition and health education, homeless outreach, smoking cessation, and narcan training. Lastly, I will collaborate with a weekly Hepatitis C Clinic to identify the needs of patients prior to their office visits.
Why did you join AmeriCorps/National Health Corps?
The Jesuit mission of service was a continuous educational theme throughout my undergraduate studies at Saint Louis University. In every course, the idea of serving others connected every lesson together, and I recognized that my desire to eventually practice medicine is rooted in advocacy and empathy for vulnerable populations. My inspiring experiences at SLU urged me to continue putting my Jesuit education into practice. As a result, I was intrigued with AmeriCorps' dual intent in providing both real-life education and a meaningful work experience before attending medical school.
Throughout my clinical experiences, I began to appreciate how people of diverse cultures and belief systems may perceive health, illness, and disease differently, and their reflective response to treatments. From a public health perspective, I now understand that quality patient care extends beyond treating illness, but equipping communities with the resources and education to sustain their health. Therefore, I believe that the National Health Corps provides me an opportunity to improve population health and promote sustainable development in vulnerable communities.
What are you hoping to gain from your year of service?
I hope to learn how integrated care can positively affect at-risk populations and how I can play a role in expanding upon that framework as a future physician. I am also thrilled at the prospect of engaging with communities and learning what priorities their own members perceive as immediate and essential.
What are your plans after AmeriCorps service?
I will begin medical school in the fall of 2018.
Where do you envision yourself in 5 years?
Possibly pursuing a family medicine residency and/or MPH.