Hi all! My name is Lana and I am serving as a NHC Chicago member and Health Educator at Erie Family Health Center’s West Town location. I grew up in a southwest suburb of Chicago, but this is my first time living in Chicagoland for several years, so I’m thrilled to be serving a city that means so much to me!
In 2019, I graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. I studied chemistry and human health while also spending much of my free time throwing and catching balls on Emory’s softball team. While there, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a medical assistant at a free women’s clinic serving a mostly refugee population and as a tutor at a school for refugee girls with interrupted educations. These experiences solidified my desire to become a physician focused on patient education and improving access to quality and appropriate healthcare for underserved populations. After this service term, I plan to attend medical school and pursue a Master of Public Health.
My time learning from and working with Georgia’s refugee community also motivated me to learn from people and cultures outside of the US. Immediately following graduation, I moved 9000 miles from home to become a high school teacher in Phang Nga, a small town in southern Thailand. During my year in Phang Nga, I experienced the challenges of adapting to a new culture and teaching English to non-native speakers, but I also created lasting friendships with co-workers, students, and other Phang Nga residents, was awed by Thailand’s physical and cultural beauty, and fed my love of extremely spicy food.
Now that I am back in the US (and desperately missing som tom [papaya salad] and sticky rice), I am excited to bring the lessons and experiences I gained from Thailand to service in a community a bit closer to home. This service term, I hope to gain a better understanding of the diverse communities that make up Chicago and of the care structures that community health clinics, like Erie, use to increase access to care in the city. After my first few months of service, I am beginning to better understand what it means to care for the whole person. At Erie, teams of medical providers, case workers, and other staff collaborate to help patients access resources that will make maintaining their health outside of the clinic easier. I am so grateful for the time I have spent as an NHC-Chicago member thus far, and I can’t wait to continue contributing to Chicago’s health in the coming months!
This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2020-2021 member Lana Herrmann.
Lana is a Health Educator at Erie Family Health Center - West Town.