My journey as a VIP has spanned over half my Xavier career, the half that has been arguably the most transformative two years of my life. I first learned about the internship program during my sophomore year when Drs. Schubert came to speak on “global health in our backyard” at Xavier University. That year, I was a Winter-Brueggeman Fellow and thick in the weeds of year-long research project centered on universal healthcare. A few weeks before I was to head off to Costa Rica to complete the international capstone of the fellowship, I saw that the Pre-Med Society was sponsoring this talk that pertained not only to the focus of my fellowship, but also struck a chord in my heart. I still remember feeling so excited when I heard this incredible clinic offered an internship opportunity for students. There haven’t been many moments in my life where I felt absolutely sure about something, but I knew during that presentation that I was going to apply for this internship.
After I applied and well into my first rotation, I was also fortunate enough to be involved in a program through Xavier’s Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice called Dorothy Day Immersions (DDI). People who know me well enough will chuckle when they read this, as it probably seems like, when given an inch, I’ll take a mile and talk about DDI. However, I will argue that I cannot isolate the two experiences and the impact they have had on me over the past two years. Through DDI, we explore the intersection of faith and justice and spend a week of winter break on trips diving deeper into justice-related issues across the country. DDI took me to New York City in 2016 and New Orleans in 2017. On both trips, we learned about amazing community organizations that work with the marginalized in order to promote peace and justice within their own communities and in the world at-large. My heart always beamed with joy and purpose when I thought about the mission and vision of Crossroad and our internship program during my two trips. While working with incredible community activists and organizers in NYC and NOLA, I knew that I would return home to Crossroad Health Center, even more on fire to work for and with our patients. Whether or not VIPs realize it, by participating in the program and engaging with the patient population at Crossroad, they build in themselves a desire and drive to seek justice and work for the marginalized. These are the building blocks of a better future.Looking back on my past five rotations as a VIP, I cannot begin to describe the amount of growth I have experienced as a result of this program. Not all of it has been easy, and, in fact, I would say that it has been immensely difficult most of the time. I’ve experienced my fair share of failed attempts to schedule a referral, painful encounters with patients who, through the pain, continually inspire me with their courage and vulnerability, and general hiccups along the way. Working with the patients of this clinic, Crossroad staff, and my fellow VIPs has been an absolute honor and a privilege, and my goodbye to this program will not be an easy one for me to say.
-- Haley Beavers