Experiencing Public Health in Chicago

Hello everyone! My name is Sandra Folarin and I am excited to serve with National Health Corps Chicago this year! I recently graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May and completed a medical research internship in New York City this past summer. Born in Chicago and raised in the Chicago suburbs, I have had a close look at some of the health inequities, transparent residential segregation, and consequent health disparities that abound within the city. However, learning about the work of organizations such as National Health Corps Chicago, partnering with a free clinic during my undergraduate years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and delving further into the statistics of how underserved communities are cyclically affected by a lack of consistent access to health care spurred my interest in immersing myself in this avenue of public health. Doing so will not only enable me to be of service to the medically underserved population in Chicago, but will also allow me to truly experience and understand the barriers to care that persist in society, in hopes of developing solutions that can rectify and eventually eliminate the disproportionate rates of disease that affect minority and low-income communities. As an aspiring physician, this experience will also equip me with the tools and experience necessary to treat a variety of patients from different cultures and backgrounds, given the rich diversity that exists within Chicago.

Aside from my affinity for service and health equity, I enjoy adventure, traveling, cooking, photography/art, and exercise! I’m always down for a fun game of volleyball, weight-lifting, spontaneous sight-seeing throughout Chicago and other cities in the United States, trips throughout the rest of the world (when I can afford it, of course!), eating, and gaining new experiences! I am looking forward to serving as a Health Educator at Heartland Health Center-Uplift/Wilson while experiencing life in Chicago with my fellow NHC members and Heartland staff members. Here’s to a great year!

This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2017-18 member Sandra Folarin.

Sandra is a Health Educator at Heartland Health Center- Uplift/Wilson