Volunteering at Crossroad Health Center is a unique opportunity for any student that’s thinking about a career in the medical field. This internship program allows the interns to communicate directly with the patients and work with them while impacting their health outcomes. The interns help schedule specialty referrals for the patients and also help overcome other barriers like transportation and financial aid. It also allows us to advocate for our patients, as we will eventually have to learn as a provider.
I am really interested in rural medicine and practicing in medically underserved areas. Before Crossroad, I never thought about an inner city population being medically underserved and the different variables they face when it comes to getting adequate preventative healthcare and access to a primary physician. Once, we couldn’t get in touch with a patient to help him schedule a crucial surgery because his phone was cut off and he couldn’t afford to pay the bill until he got paid. I never thought communicating with a patient as a barrier until I experienced this situation. As interns, I feel like we are a crucial part of patient’s healthcare and we try our best to make every effort to schedule and remind them of their appointments so that’s one less thing they have to worry about. Mostly, patients are really appreciative of our service and some times they can’t thank us enough for our work.
The Crossroad experience is invaluable as it exposes you to a different side of medicine that you may not see just by shadowing doctors in a big hospital or a PCP in a suburban clinic. This hands-on experience is gratifying as you are truly helping patients and making a difference in their healthcare. At the same time you are learning their stories and their individual hardships. I have personally gained a lot from this internship, which will help me become a better physician. I see myself serving in areas similar to OTR in my future.
-- Harsh Patel