I have been an intern at Hope Medical Clinic for almost a full month now! I still feel so blessed to be able to serve the community and further my education at Hope. Each day, I am continuing to interact with both familiar and unfamiliar clients and am discovering new ways to navigate the healthcare realm. One of my favorite aspects of this internship so far is the rapport I am building with many of the regular clients here. It’s nice to know that I am a friendly face to many of the clients at Hope, and I appreciate that they feel comfortable talking to me about their healthcare navigation issues. I am also thankful to be a positive influence on their lives by referring them to programs such as Washtenaw County’s Prescription for Health, where they can receive free fruits and vegetables throughout the summer at the local farmer’s markets. After seeing some of the same clients on multiple occasions, it is amazing to be able to see the impact of public health and the resources we provide them on their lives.
As a future public health educator, it is my goal that each client who comes into Hope leaves with more knowledge regarding how to live a healthy life than when they arrived. While many clients may come in to inquire about financial assistance or medical bills rather than how they can improve their health, I make an effort to discuss healthy eating and accessing healthy foods with each client. I want to ensure that each client who comes in has the opportunity to receive support. By having a conversation with each client, I am able to learn about them and their lives, and am then able to make a good judgement on which resources would be the most beneficial to them.
One of my favorite skills that I’ve strengthened across this month at my internship has been introducing my clients to more opportunities than they originally came in for. For example, a client recently came in asking for assistance with paying for her medication. While my fellow intern and I were able to provide her with resources regarding paying for her prescriptions, we also engaged in conversation with her and learned more of her story. We realized that she would be a perfect match for Prescription for Health, and once we told her about the program she was ecstatic about participating! The surrounding community has so many different organizations dedicated to providing support for the people living here (i.e. Friends in Deed, Jewish Family Services, Housing Access of Washtenaw County). At first, it was difficult for me to figure out which resources would be good for which people. I soon realized that you don’t always have to choose. While many people think of treating people “equally,” in that each client gets the same treatment and is given the same resources across the board, in public health we strive for “equity” – some people need a little more help than others to reach the same goal. And that’s okay!
It has also been so inspiring to see how clients at Hope interact with each other. I referred a client to Prescription for Health and before I knew it she was in the lobby telling patients at the medical clinic about the opportunity! It was awesome to see someone so excited about being able to access healthy foods, and eager to spread that excitement with the community.
If you are interested in supporting Hope’s mission, you can donate to our “Fill a Ford” event on Saturday June 10 from 10am-4pm at the Kroger in Ypsilanti (210 Whittaker road Ypsilanti 48197). Stop by to donate school supplies and backpacks that will be given out to children at Hope in August. If you or someone you know is interested in picking up a backpack with school supplies for a child in school, you can register during the month of July at the front desk at Hope Clinic (518 Harriet St, Ypsilanti). Backpack pick up will be August 2 and 3!
Thanks for continuing to follow me on this journey!