2021 Week 4: Healthcare/Health Policy

CARLOS BURI-NAGUA | CENTRO SOL

The second week of Centro SOL’s Summer Scholars program consisted of teaching the youth the last part of new content and how to structure their PowerPoint for their research presentations at the end of the program. As I review their work, especially the beginning stages of their research presentations, it reminds me of my primary goal: prepare the Summer Scholars to present at either the CARES symposium or in front of the Centro SOL staff and volunteers. At the same time, I am in awe of how far the students have come with their research projects. Even though I can imagine or say that I plan for students to complete their presentations by a certain date, it still is a rewarding experience to see their progress and come to fruition.

Another goal I had was to ensure that the summer scholars retain the new material, such as finding research articles or brainstorming research limitations. Even though there are no exams or quizzes, I try to review the information as much as possible and provide practice during the sessions and make sure they remember the material. Additionally, the summer scholars attend research “office hours” where they are paired with a volunteer to help them with their week’s tasks, complete a graphic organizer, and start drafting their PowerPoint. As I join some of the breakout rooms, it is incredible to see the scholars explain what they worked on throughout the week with their volunteers.

As I review the summer program’s calendar, I can confidently say that I am on track to meet these goals. I try to provide as much time as possible for the summer scholars to work on their research presentation so that they can ask questions while they work on it. Also, I review their graphic organizer and provide comments to help and have one-on-ones to review their work and open the space for questions; it may be challenging to speak up in a group. I believe that one-on-one meetings will help facilitate questions. In the next few weeks, I plan to continue following the program’s calendar and meeting with my supervisor, who has been outstanding in reviewing my work and answering any questions. Also, my supervisor has provided great suggestions that have been beneficial for all members of the program.

JULIA BURLESON | BALTIMORE HARM REDUCTION COALITION

As I was talking to my supervisor about a project towards the end of this week, she offhandedly mentioned that my internship was halfway over. I chuckled at first because I thought she was kidding, but when I thought about it, she was right. Ever since then, I’ve had a newfound sense of urgency regarding my projects, but I have also tried to take a step back to think about my goals and reflect on my experience so far.

I came into my internship eager to listen and learn about harm reduction, my organization, the Baltimore community, and the non-profit space in Baltimore. Through the presentations and meetings that I’ve been part of so far, I’ve accomplished my goal of learning about harm reduction and am quickly learning the ins and outs of BHRC through my Google Drive reorganization project. While I’ve definitely learned more about Baltimore and its nonprofit scene, I still have so many questions. So far, I’ve learned about the city mostly by listening to the topics that my coworkers have brought up. This method was great when I didn’t know what exactly to ask or what specifically I wanted to learn more about. However, now I have a better sense of the city and have heard more about nonprofits, I want to start raising my own questions and proposing topics of discussion that I’ve been curious about since I started the internship.

Another goal I had was to form strong relationships with my coworkers. During the first two weeks of my internship, I mainly worked remotely and only really saw my coworkers during meetings. During that time, I struggled to make meaningful connections with most of my coworkers, but I had a better sense of everyone’s personalities and the office dynamic. During the last two weeks, I’ve mostly worked in the office, which has been crucial to forming real relationships with my coworkers. As we make kits, I frequently listen to issues or hobbies that people are passionate about and learn more about their lives. Even working at my computer, I’ve been able to listen and participate in some random, fun conversations that I’m only able to be part of because I’m in the office. While I think my relationships will continue to develop naturally with people who are frequently in the office, I want to be more intentional about fostering relationships with coworkers who primarily work from home. This will probably include taking more time during the beginning of the meeting to check in about life outside of work and hobbies and creating more fun check-in questions that will lead to more discussion. With half of the internship over, I’m glad I took time this week to reflect on my goals and refocus so that I can get as much out of my summer as possible!

KOYE OPUTA | EPISCOPAL REFUGEE & IMMIGRANT CENTER ALLIANCE

I do not know the people I am serving. I have read several UNHCR, IOM, Vox, and other articles on the ever-changing migrant life in the US, and I have never felt that I have known less. I am no stranger to the concept that the more “I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.“ However, the greater issue lies in that I cannot know a person from statistics.

Granted, in my four weeks with ERICA, my knowledge of migrant life in Baltimore has wildly expanded, and it has helped inform our program’s next steps in improving how we welcome new-coming migrants to Baltimore. Still, facts alone are no way to know a person.

Going forward with the second half of my internship with ERICA. I intend to focus more on building relationships with program participants. As of right now, my relationship with members of the ERICA family has felt like waving to a neighbor during my afternoon run to get the mail. This misfortune is partly owed to former COVID-19 restrictions, but also due to a lack of intentionality. I plan to make more time to sit down and talk with program participants, whether that means making more work for myself the next day, or taking work home. For program participants that express interest in the idea, I am planning more social functions or occasions to socialize without the burdens of trying to get a time-sensitive task done.

I hope that by the end of this summer, I will be well on my way to better appreciating the migrant communities of Baltimore.

INDIRA SUMMERVILLE | SHEPHERD’S CLINIC

The goals I set in the beginning of the summer have not changed. But they are more “big picture” oriented. As in, my goals involved getting an overall better understanding of how non-profit clinics operate and form long-lasting connections with those they serve, and how I can play an effective role in achieving their mission. While that has remained my overarching goal, I have shifted my mindset into being more specific with my objectives. This comes from the realization that gaining that better understanding and determining my most effective role in achieving the mission of the clinic involves many factors besides just going into the clinic and doing what I am asked. For example, there are two main platforms that contribute to Shepherd’s Clinic’s organization of patients and patient information: Biosoft and Practice Fusion. Both programs are extremely important to the clinic, and to my role as a front desk volunteer. Due to their importance, one of the goals I added as part of the overarching objective was to become comfortable enough with both platforms to independently do the majority of the tasks relying on those programs by the middle of the internship. To achieve this, I have been taking the opportunity to explore both programs in my free time, instead of only when I need to do something involving either platform. Along with setting objectives involving the actual work, I also set a goal to get a better understanding of my productivity levels throughout the day, especially after having virtual work for so long. To achieve this, I have been very mindful of when I feel the most energized and productive, finding that I get the most done in person in the mornings, while I get more done virtually in the afternoons. I have tried to honor that productivity schedule to the best of my ability to maximize my effectiveness at the clinic. Lastly, to achieve my overarching goal, I have an individual project that involves researching local community-based organizations and compiling them into an accessible resource for our patients. I aim to finish this project by the end of the summer, making sure to work on it on the days that I am virtual, and when I have some time to do so at the clinic. Overall, while my goal to learn more about how the clinic works and how to play an effective role in its success has not wavered, I have set more tangible objectives in order to meet that mission.

VEENA THAMILSELVAN | KESWICK MULTI-CARE CENTER

Being at Keswick at a long-term care facility, one of my biggest goals was to get some exposure to clinical work whether it be interviewing healthcare professionals or shadowing and I have been able to get a lot of experience in a short time. Almost every morning I have been able to shadow the nursing staff at Keswick and learn about how they do wound care and administer the various types of medication that the residents take. On Tuesdays, I have the opportunity to shadow the resident doctor to learn more about how he diagnoses the various pressure wounds and provides treatment to the residents. I hope to go to medical school in the future and this has been a valuable experience to not only learn the science but also how to deliver care in a kind and respectful way.

Additionally, I got to work with other interns in the social work office which was a new area of healthcare work that I hadn’t really thought of before. The social work office is the backbone of the care coordination team, helping patients and residents organize transportation and rehab schedules to working with external CBOs to help connect the resident to various needs like housing assistance or nursing aides. The other interns and I have been doing social work intakes with new admissions, asking them about their daily schedule, their interests, their long term healthcare goals, and some verifications of their MOLST form. The MOLST form asks if the individual would like to be DNR or DNI which means they would not like to be resuscitated or intubated in the case of a severe medical event. It’s definitely a lot of information to collect, not to mention heavy and emotionally draining. It is a key aspect of truly supportive and sustainable care, but often faces the brunt of emotional burn out.

I hope to continue to meet new department areas and gain an understanding of the various expertise needed to run a multi-care center like Keswick.

MICHAEL VIDAL | ESPERANZA CENTER

Starting a new internship brings lots of excitement. I entered my internship without a clear understanding of the experience. What will I do? How will the staff receive me? How can I contribute as meaningfully as possible? The first two can be chalked up to nerves typical of any new job or task, but the last is different. The last is about impact requires introspection and reflection to answer. Since orientation, CIIP asks its mentees to consider what “impact” means, and how an the internship can accomplish that. Yet, I left out one key details: time. The time and experiences add to reflection and goal-making.

When I started, my goals were ambiguously straightforward. I wanted to make change. How can I introduce new perspectives to revolutionize the clinic work? On Day One, I was ready to take on projects — or make my own — that would improve efficiency and clinic impact. This change isn’t limited to the organization but myself as well. How can I transform myself in the work I do? I wanted to develop new skill sets in patient communication or non-profit work. Essentially, the goal to leave the clinic and myself changed at the end of the internship.

With experience, it is now obvious how short-sighted these goals were. Furthermore, how they come from a place of privilege and self-depreciation. There’s no possible why a 22-year-old, Florida-born, and recent graduate can “revolutionize” a non-profit with years of experience working in a community. The community is not mine; the history is not mine; and the lived experience is not mine. These rose colored lens are normal for college grads, but there is a need for unlearning to allow experience and relationship to create impact. This mindset also sets myself short. I already have the skills needed for a successful internship experience; they just need development.

So, at the half way point, my goals have changed substantially. I want practice and develop the skills I already have. I want to use my personal perspective to contribute to initiative of the clinic. I want to help alleviate the burden of tight-budget, low-resource work for my coworkers. That is rewarding in itself. My supervisor works on a program that without help would be impossible to maintain. For this eight weeks, I want to use my time in keeping the program current and functioning. In the process, I can learn and grow with the clinic and the community they serve while doing the work most needed.

 

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