National Health Corps Pittsburgh Blog

"When I first joined National Health Corps, I was excited for the new perspectives and experiences I would be exposed to, but I had no idea the extent of the web work of opportunities that immediately fell into my grasp. As I began to find my interests as I settled here in Pittsburgh, I had the privilege to explore events and organizations that aligned with my career goals, and much to my surprise, plenty that also sparked new interests. National Health Corps has given me everything I sought out for my year of service; direct contact with local communities, an extensive network for professional development, and unending sources of inspiration."
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"Before beginning my term as a National Health Corps Pittsburgh member, I was often asked, 'So, what exactly are you doing this year?' While the details of the daily activities as a Patient Navigator remained cloudy, I felt confident describing my 10 and half month engagement with National Health Corps as a 'service year.' However, throughout the first half of this program, I have realized that working in a health related profession is a life-long continuation of a 'service year'. I have observed this in all aspects of my experience, from the daily work that I do at the Lawrenceville Family Health Center to my community volunteer projects and health education opportunities. I am continuously surrounded by a community of people that have made a commitment to serving others."
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"The age old debate of nature vs. nurture has always been one of interest to me. The basic dilemma that I have continued to deliberate is as follows: Am I shaped by my environment and how I was brought up, or am I a product of a multitude of hereditary factors? Although it is widely accepted that the nature of our beings is an intricate combination of the two, the realization that my “nurture” is often quite different than that of others was something that started to intrigue me."
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"As a Community Health and Prevention Coordinator serving at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, much of my work revolves around supporting after-school programs on health and wellness initiatives. Specifically, I help implement a national program called Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST for short) at after-school programs all throughout Allegheny County. The aim of HOST is to provide support to out-of-school time sites so that they can create healthier out-of-school time environments for their kids. Participation in the program is free, which is essential, as the after-school sites I work with are often extremely underfunded and under-resourced."
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"As a Patient Navigator on Squirrel Hill Health Center’s mobile medical unit, I travel to areas of Pittsburgh that are home to some of our city’s most underserved populations. In any given two-week period, we visit two neighborhoods of predominantly Nepali-speaking Bhutanese refugees, two predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, a behavioral health center, an opioid addiction recovery center, and an old Pittsburgh steel community. Each of these sites is located in an area of the county where access to primary care services is severely limited."
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"One thing that has become progressively evident, is how easy it can be as a healthcare worker, to oversimplify someone else’s barriers to appropriate care. At surface level, it seems easy; if someone does not have insurance, then connect them to insurance, if someone does not have transportation, then give them bus passes. However, while we currently live in a society that values efficiency and clear answers, healthcare is not an area where one size fits all. Serving at Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center (PMFHC) has shown me how important it is to work with the patient to find the most comprehensive, patient-centered solution to the barrier, rather than commandeering the situation with a solution you think is the best."
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"In my role as an Outreach Coordinator at Women for a Healthy Environment, I get to facilitate workshops related to lead, asthma, air quality, and the use of personal care and cleaning products, all of which are topics that aren’t the first ones that come to mind when thinking about environmental health. However, these topics are ones that have a bigger effect on us on at an individual level then recycling."
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"As a Care Coordinator at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Adolescent Medicine, I mainly serve a group titled CHANGE (Children’s Hospital Advisory Network for Guidance and Empowerment). The group consists of youth ages 14-26 years old who have either a chronic illness or disability. The members and I collaborate to ensure they build life skills and self-advocate in their journey from pediatric to adult healthcare. Through our monthly meetings and occasional one on ones, we come up with ways for them to expand their knowledge and grow."
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"For some, the true nature of public health may be a bit ambiguous. The truth is, public health is big, it’s broad, it's everywhere. Public health is the murals you see while driving, public health is breastfeeding in a private room at your workplace, public health is the smoke free-oxygen you breathe in restaurants, public health is your child playing at recess. Even when you may not be aware of it, public health is all around you. As individuals, we all play a role in creating and contributing to the public health around us. However, in order to ensure that all members of our community have the ability and resources to be viable contributors to our overall public health, a momentous amount of work needs to take place behind the scenes."
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"There is much misunderstanding associated with the word diabetes. Many people automatically associate diabetes with someone who has eaten too many cheeseburgers or drank too much soda pop. Others believe that they can easily get over diabetes, as if it were the common cold, while some people just know diabetes as the “sugar in the blood” that killed their mama. Over 30.3 million Americans have diabetes, but how many actually understand what this diagnosis means?"
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