National Health Corps Pittsburgh Blog

"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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"I understood that the process of applying for public benefits could be frustrating and lengthy but I had no first-hand experience. I think the most humbling part of the process was knowing that a group of intelligent, college-educated adults still needed help navigating the system. It made me wonder how people who don’t have any guidance fare when they navigate the application process themselves."
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"A couple of weekends ago, I witnessed another type of collaboration within the healthcare field. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Free Clinic Association of Pennsylvania’s (FCAP) annual conference in Harrisburg. One of the more notable conversations was centered around pain management without the use of opioids."
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"Serving a year with Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center (PMFHC) has allowed me to further explore how preventative care, including consistent health education and screenings, can effectively combat health care disparities long-term. However, I quickly learned that this issue is incredibly complex and not resolved solely through clinical practices."
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"I serve as an intermediary support for schools in assessing their sites, creating action plans to set goals towards complying with their wellness policies, and connecting them to resources to meet their Healthy Schools Programmatic goals. Each school and school district is different and varies in engagement with CHP; however, Penn Hills Schools District (PHSD) has become increasingly engaged as a district since the start of our partnership last fall."
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"Coming into this experience, I didn’t have many expectations regarding what I would gain from this service year, because this experience was unlike anything that I have done in the past. Because I had few expectations, I went into this service year open minded, which has left me open to new learning opportunities. I believe this year has given me a unique perspective on the medical field, that not many aspiring doctors have the chance to receive."
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"A youth came down to our health clinic one day at the 412 Youth Zone, a drop-in site for unstably housed youth. She had a toothache and needed assistance in finding a dentist nearby that could see her on short notice and would accept her insurance. Helping to schedule appointments is one of the many services we provide at the Youth Zone clinic, so I began researching dentist offices. After finding one that was accessible by bus route, I helped the youth call to schedule an appointment. A few minutes into the conversation, the receptionist asked for her insurance number. The youth realized she didn’t have her insurance card with her. As a result, we had to wait to make an appointment and delayed her receiving treatment."
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"Is there a reason we do something a certain way? What would happen if we changed our methods? Do we have the capacity to start something brand new? At the beginning of my service year, my mentor Erin mentioned to me that we had gotten some inquiries about nutrition and cooking classes for pregnant or new moms, but we didn’t have anything to offer beyond basic nutrition classes for adults. As I started to think about my capstone project for the year, that idea stuck with me. I continued to ask myself those same questions and challenged myself to build something totally new, something we hadn’t done before."
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