National Health Corps Pittsburgh Blog

"I serve as the coordinator for the Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) which consists of 2 patient rooms and most other aspects of a primary care office squished into an RV. The goal of the MMU is to offer primary care services to populations who commonly struggle with access to consistent, quality healthcare. The MMU partners with a homeless shelter that has the capacity to house around 250 individuals. Through my interactions with the patients at this site, it’s evident that there are multiple barriers this population faces including reliable, consistent communication and transportation. The MMU succeeds in overcoming a number of these obstacles, but I’ve realized that addressing access is only half the battle in providing comprehensive, competent care to individuals experiencing homelessness."
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"At my host site, the Birmingham Free Clinic, the staff members and I often find ourselves saying, 'Just another day at Birmingham.' Serving at Birmingham has normalized the creative and out-of-the-box thinking that healthcare delivery frequently requires."
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"As the Maternal and Child Health Care Coordinator at the UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center (which operates within the IMPLICIT Network), my primary role is to provide ICC case management to improve maternal and infant health. When a woman screens positive for one of the four risk factors, I provide health education to motivate behavior change, address barriers, and build meaningful relationships. I frequently encounter mothers who smoke, and in those situations, I utilize the 5 A’s model for smoking counseling: ask, advise, assess, assist, and arrange."
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"During the first few weeks of service at my host site, I embarked on my first project — contacting patients who were due for their routine cancer screenings and vaccinations. I called patients on the phone to tell them that they were due for a mammogram, colonoscopy, dexa scan, or pap smear and asked them if they would like to schedule an appointment to complete the screening. In approaching outreach in this manner, many patients declined — particularly when they were due for a colonoscopy."
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"I have many fond memories from the past year, during which I pursued my Master’s Degree in Scotland. Understandably, I still miss hearing the Scottish brogue, eating haggis, and walking on the slick cobblestone streets of Old Town Edinburgh. But as I have progressed further along into my AmeriCorps service year stateside, I have increasingly grown to miss something from the UK that I never thought I would: its healthcare system."
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"The bulk of my service at the Allegheny County Health Department involves providing sexual health education to patients over the phone and promoting condom usage at outreach events. My day-to-day looks very different from a normal nine to five job, and when I tell people what I do on a daily basis, they often don’t know how to react. The truth is, sex and sexual health can be awkward things to talk about due to the sensitive and personal nature of the subject matter, and for this reason many people may feel uncomfortable with the topic. This can often make my position difficult, as I try to reach out to new patients and organizations to promote the Health Department's services and educate the general public."
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"As a patient navigator, I contact and schedule patients who are overdue for preventative exams and health screenings, and I meet with patients who are new to SHHC to discuss the services we offer. Providing these healthcare services successfully has required guidance from many of the clinicians at SHHC. Lauren Bloom, primary care physician assistant (PA-C), is one of those providers, and she has been helpful in making my work at SHHC effective."
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"Age is the main risk factor for the prevalent diseases of developed countries, including cancer and cardiovascular disease (WHO, 2015). Although aging is inevitable, the risks of developing these common health conditions and the severity of certain illnesses can be mitigated with better nutrition. Unfortunately, a growing number of older Americans are food insecure."
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"Katie has her Master of Social Work and has been at SHHC for about six years. She is the Manager of Care Navigation, a role that encompasses social work services, care coordination, and advocacy for patients and the care coordination team. Having been a mentor to AmeriCorps members for several years, she has a good understanding of the value a year in AmeriCorps has on the population we serve as well as on the member. On a day to day basis it can be hard to see the bigger picture of how your service impacts the patient because many of my meaningful interactions with patients are over the phone. I decided to sit down and interview Katie to help clarify the broad impacts of my service."
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"Three months ago, I packed up my Grand Prix with all of my possessions, left Michigan, and started driving east. What first struck me was the view. Driving into Pittsburgh on 376-E takes you through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. As soon as you leave the tunnel, the beauty of the city strikes you — you’re dumped out onto the Fort Pitt Bridge, headed directly for downtown; sunlight reflects off PPG Place buildings, and all is right with the world. To your right is the Monongahela River and Smithfield Street Bridge. To your left is the Point Park fountain and the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, from which the Ohio is born. Pittsburgh truly is a beautiful city, textured by three magnificent rivers, 90 distinct neighborhoods, 446 bridges, and all the hills and ridges characteristic of Appalachia."
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