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Although serving during a pandemic looks different than most years with not being able to meet others in the program or patients I am serving, I am grateful for what I have learned so far from my patients, peers, and mentors. I focus on what I have and have been able to do, rather than what I have ‘lost’ and have not been able to do.
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I serve as a health educator at Tiger Academy, a free, public charter school on the Northwest side of Jacksonville, Florida. In my position, I have the flexibility to bring my passions inside the classrooms and provide more opportunities for learning to the students. Compared to private schools, many public schools do not have the funds to implement Spanish as an elective for their students, especially starting at such a young age.
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I connect with and provide case management to the male partners of these women in order to support clients on a more holistic family level. In my efforts to recruit and manage the caseload of fathers in our program, I assist them with setting and keeping track of goals that are important and relevant to them.
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As a person who was first introduced to medicine through my own health complications, I had always considered my own health solely in physical control. My image of health took shape in eating enough iron, eating proper proportions of food groups, and exercising to build my cardiovascular strength.
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I tried to start my service term with no expectations of what was to come. This way I could only be pleasantly surprised by what was to come. However, with the pandemic worsening and my clinic’s abrupt closure, the surprises were not always happy ones.
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I couldn’t think of a better way to bring my own expertise to Sulzbacher than to establish a weekly exercise class. My educational background is centered around using exercise as a preventative and mitigative tool for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Many members of Jacksonville's homeless population struggle with these preventable diseases.
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"As an investigator I have asked bridesmaids for information about their wedding party, had grandparents give me the phones numbers of their grandchildren and told college students they can’t go home for Thanksgiving. These conversations are difficult for me, and I can’t imagine how hard they are for the person on the other end of the line. It would be strange enough to ask a close friend for the names and phone numbers of everyone they interacted with last week, but it becomes even more uncomfortable when talking to a stranger, from a phone number with no caller ID, in the context of a global pandemic where some people are tired of COVID precautions, and when no one wants to be the reason their friends have to quarantine for two weeks."
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