My name is Christina Baum, although I often go by the name of Stina, and I am serving with National Health Corps (NHC) as a Health Educator with Erie Family Health Centers’ Johnson and Westside clinics. I began being passionate about pursuing a healthcare profession upon seeing the outcomes of reduced access to health services following my time in Fort-Liberté, Haiti in 2015. It was not until I moved out of my small Chicago suburb of Cary to pursue Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison that I was able to see that the health outcomes disparities I saw overseas were in my communities too. During the pandemic, I have been volunteering with Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation by assisting with food distribution during their pop-ups and transporting a portion of the leftover food to a homeless encampment. This upcoming year, I hope to become involved with reentry programs to increase the quality of and connection to care for incarcerated individuals. Outside of service, the quarantine hobbies that I have sustained are crocheting, trying to leash-train my cat Merlot, and going for long walks around the city.
My first exposure to the internal side of healthcare in Chicago was during my 2019-2020 NHC Chicago service term in which I was astounded by the vast spectrum of healthcare approaches. I served as a Health Educator with Advocate Trinity Hospital which gave me experience and insight into a large-scale hospital system as well as the community on the South Side. This year, I am ecstatic to be gaining a different perspective while serving with a Federally Qualified Health Center on the West Side.
The importance of social justice within medicine is what brought me to serve in AmeriCorps and NHC. The COVID-19 pandemic has showcased the devastating impact of public health and healthcare disparities, and I am grateful to have a role in confronting inequities each and every day.
This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2020-2021 member Christina Baum.
Christina is a Health Educator at Erie Family Health Center - Johnson and Westside.