Creating A Community with the NHC First Generation Initiative

Posted on: July 5, 2023Philadelphia


Growing up as the first-born child to parents who newly immigrated to the US, I’ve always tried to forge my own path as I navigated new experiences. This narrative of being the first to do something and working through all that comes with it continues to shape my life and the lives of others like me. As rewarding as these experiences may be, they can also be difficult and intimidating, and I’ve found that having a strong community of peers makes a great difference. 

In college, I met many amazing people who come from similar backgrounds and we bonded over our lived experiences. These connections were something that I highly valued and hoped to continue making well into my adult life.

Stepping into my service term at NHC, I was enthusiastic about the community that I would serve, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect about the community that I would form. At pre-service orientation, when I first heard about the First Generation Initiative, a group dedicated to strengthening the first generation community I was happy to see that there was an integral support system for my community embedded within the program. 

Through a mix of weekly and biweekly meetings, this year’s First Gen cohort has discussed our individual narratives and how we can continue to develop professionally and personally. The mentorship gained from meeting with my peers across the country has been essential to my pursuit of medical school and how I can navigate the future. Discussing our different perspectives and experiences has helped me to widen my worldview; Hearing others’ stories and discussing the difficulties of our journeys helps to create relationships beyond our roles in NHC and lead to friendships full of support and understanding.

I am truly grateful that I made the decision to join, and now lead, the First Gen cohort and hope to build upon the foundation we’ve established for many cohorts to come. I’m also excited for the future of First Gen as we look to expand our alumni networks and promote growth even beyond our service term!

Also, for anyone interested in learning more, don’t forget to swing by our First Gen Alumni panel on July 6th to hear about what First Gen is, who we are, and gain some alumni perspectives!


About the Author:

Aliza Haider

Name: Aliza Haider (she/her)

Host Site: Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Health Center 6

Position: Patient Navigator & Advocate

Where are you from? Atlantic City, NJ