Kelsey McKenna

I think a service year has so many things to offer: personal growth, professional development, leadership and communication skills, new friends and places, reflection and insight.

Hometown:
Port Saint Lucie, FL
 
Educational background:
Bachelor’s degree in Public Health with minor in Human and Social Development from University of Miami
 
Host Site:
The Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, Medical Clinic
 
What is your title and role at your host site?
I am serving as a Patient Navigator in the Medical Clinic at the Sulzbacher Downtown. In this position, I will be serving homeless individuals in the clinic by determining and verifying their eligibility to be seen in the clinic. I will be meeting with over 2,000 patients to discuss eligibility requirements, assisting them in filling out and understanding the required paperwork.  Also, I will educate patients on the processes of receiving medical care at the Sulzbacher and connect them with appropriate resources as necessary as I begin to build relationships with them. In addition, I will also participate in community health clinics and local health fairs, refer patients to other services, and follow up throughout the duration of the patient’s care at the clinic.
 
Why did you join the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps program?
Last year I served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Jacksonville. During this program I felt like I was making a huge positive impact on the community which I enjoyed, but I felt that I was not utilizing my Public Health skills and knowledge to the best of my ability - I knew that I had more to offer. I found out about National Health Corps Florida and instantly knew that I had to serve another year with this organization, focusing more specifically on community health in the new city that I had come to love. In my undergrad, I interned with a Community Health Initiative which sparked a great interest in health disparities, minority populations, and social determinants of health. I was excited because I felt that NHC offered service positions that catered to exactly what the community needed, it opened up opportunities to participate in activities that I was already invested in, and that I would be able to simultaneously develop both my public health and personal leadership skills to use in the future.

What are you hoping to gain from your year of service?
I think a service year has so many things to offer: personal growth, professional development, leadership and communication skills, new friends and places, reflection and insight. I hope to gain all of these things and more through a close partnership with a community-based organization and the relationship that will be built among my fellow AmeriCorps members. I also hope to learn more about the community to hopefully make my impact as meaningful as possible!
 
What are your plans after AmeriCorps service?
I am deciding between going back to school for my Master’s in Public Health or studying to become a Registered Nurse!
 
Where do you envision yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I hope to have decided on my path in Public Health and to have obtained my additional degree (MPH or RN). I don’t know exactly where I will be, but wherever it is I hope that I am still serving communities that are most in-need and that I am continuing to make an impact in whatever ways that I can.