Thursday, March 26, 2020

#theVIPexperience Post #92: Dhriti Sharma

I grew up with a somewhat sheltered lifestyle, so when  I started volunteering at Crossroad Health Center, I was met with a different environment. I took many things for granted like health insurance or the ability to see a doctor whenever I needed one without having to worry about factors like money, transportation, or even access to a phone. I realized how hard it is for people who are struggling economically to get basic healthcare. People at crossroad health center are all willing to come together as one to make a difference in these people’s lives by providing the best patient care, and I’m so glad that I can also be involved in this mission. 

I have learned so much during my time here at Crossroad. I’ve learned that communication both orally and digitally is a key factor when it comes to patient care. I am able to communicate not only with my fellow VIPs but also with nurses and doctors. Being able to work with nurses and doctors, I was able to get a glimpse at what their jobs were like. Observing these professionals every week made my passion for medicine and working with the underserved even stronger. I realized that at the clinic no job is of less importance than the next. Everybody working together is what made the Crossroad Health Center successful. Healthcare workers like us are becoming increasingly more important with COVID-19 going around. All of us being available to the patient during times like this is what will truly matter at the end, especially because these people may not have anywhere else to go for healthcare. 

Working at Crossroad has been truly an enriching experience for me because it exposed me to the diversity that exists within my community. This has also been a rewarding experience because I was able to be part of a program that prioritize patient 
care and well-being above anything else. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

#theVIPexperience Post #91: Dami Omojola

I started volunteering at Crossroad Health Center in fall 2019. I have volunteered in other hospital settings but one of the main things that encouraged me to apply for this volunteer internship program as compared to other student volunteer positions was the patient interaction experience that I could get in this position, as well as the christ-centeredness that is a part of Crossroad Health Center’s mission. In my time working here, I have been able to witness the hearts of the people here. They are passionate about the overall health of the patients and getting them the care they need regardless of the situations the patients may face. Volunteering here at the clinic, I have been able to see patients receive selfless care. From helping patients figuring out daily needs to helping with the scheduling of transportations, or sometimes providing bus passes to those who need them to make it to appointments, or even observing physicians who may choose to see patients for free; I have observed the dedication that Crossroad employees have to improve patients experience.
 In the same way, I have been inspired to give my time at the clinic to the helping of others who may have a harder time gaining access to quality healthcare as a result of disparities. My shift at the clinic includes me calling patients to assist in the scheduling of their referral appointments at different specialties and locations, as well as scheduling transportation as needed, and reminder calls to ensure patients make it to said appointment. In my time dealing with patients, I have had to opportunity to see more closely the struggles that patients may face to receive care, maybe because they have to rely on someone else to get them to the appointment, or due to lack of insurance resulting in them being unable to make it to an essential appointment as was the case with a patient who I worked with. It was difficult to see that this patient who I had helped to schedule an appointment with a specialist for migraines in November 2019, had to reschedule the appointment twice and ultimately cancel the appointment now March 2020.  This was because the patient’s application for financial assistance to cover the cost of the appointment was not approved. 

It is also difficult seeing this disparity play out in non-English speaking patients, as was the case with this patient. It is very promising to see physicians and volunteers who speak Spanish, Arabic, and other languages and can deal with these patients at Crossroad Health Center. Seeing the limited number of multi-lingual volunteers, the health disparity in non-English speaking patients is more apparent. Knowing this, I have a passion to learn more languages to provide better access to care for non-English speaking patients. I intend to complete a minor in Spanish through a summer study abroad to Spain, barring cancelation due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I will continue to learn the Spanish language and recently have started to learn Japanese. I hope to be a multi-lingual patient care provider as many of the employees at Crossroads are to be able to play a part in reducing that disparity. I believe that what we do as volunteer interns play a significant role in the quality of care that patients receive and I am always happy to do my part in improving access to care. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

#theVIPexperience Post #90: Munachimso Anachebe

As a pre-med student I have considered the Crossroad Volunteer Internship Program to be a unique opportunity for me to gain an inside view into the American healthcare system. Hence, the overall knowledge and experience I have obtained from the program are surely indispensable. I started off the program with a lot of doubt when I was working with the Tobacco Treatment Group (TTG). Also, I initially faced some difficulties as I did not know how to interact with its members as well as the other interns in the group but over time my worries faded and eventually, I found the courage to talk to these people to the extent that doing so felt natural. This experience was truly a wonderful one especially when members of the group were willing to share some stories about their lives and the work Crossroad had done for them. Moreover, my time in TTG was truly an eye-opening experience that has definitely left its mark on me as it helped me to grow as a person and hopefully to help its members do the same. 
As I progressed and eventually started my second rotation, I was faced with different tasks in the form of scheduling appointments and transportation for patients and calling patients to inform or remind them of this information. I began with little knowledge on how to do the work but surely, I was able to adapt to perform the given tasks with confidence. Generally, being a VIP at Crossroad has allowed me to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding for those who put in time and effort to ensure that people in need of certain healthcare services are able to access them with relative ease.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

#theVIPexperience Post #89: Emily Moore

My interest in medicine began the day that my father was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma. While his fight with cancer proved to be a challenging time for my family, it shaped who I am as a person.

This time in my life inspired me to pursue a more technical career in medicine: chemical engineering. I chose to pursue this degree by working for the pharmaceutical industry in mind. I saw this as a way to still contribute to healthcare and as a way to honor my father’s win against cancer. Fortunately, I was able to be exposed to pharmaceutical manufacturing when I worked two co-op rotations with Patheon Pharmaceuticals. While I enjoyed learning about the manufacturing process for pharmaceuticals, I learned that engineering wasn’t the path that I needed to take to pursue my long-term goals of impacting the lives of patients. I felt like my co-op experience was very much missing the patient interactions. It was often comfortable for full-time employees to forget how important their work was – they were making medicine that directly impacted the patient’s lives. All of this contributed to my pursuance of the volunteer internship program at Crossroad Health Center.

Moving forward, I decided to finish up my BS in chemical engineering, but to also pursue a pre-medical certificate. It was then that I applied to the volunteer internship program at Crossroad Health Center. I viewed this program as a way to check all of the boxes that I was missing at my experiences in pharmaceuticals: I was going to be able to interact with patients, and I was going to be in an environment where everybody was working to make the patient’s lives better. My experience at Crossroad has exceeded these expectations. The staff at Crossroad are all fantastic people who put the patients first. Additionally, the volunteer interns get to take part in serving the patients by assisting with scheduling referral appointments, reminding the patients of upcoming appointments, documenting patient cases, and occasionally scheduling transportation to ensure that the patients can reach their appointments.

To demonstrate how dedicated the staff is to serve people in need, on my first day, I became hypoglycemic and briefly lost consciousness. The nurses, medical assistants, and a physician immediately started caring for me. They didn’t bat an eye; their response to care for me was immediate. This is the dedication that Crossroad has for people who need help: direct care and prioritizing the patients. It has been an honor to be apart of the volunteer internship program there.  

#theVIPexperience Post #88: Olivia Biddle

During my freshman year of college, I joined the pre-med student association, and at one of our first meetings, I learned about the different opportunities in Cincinnati that I could participate in as a student interested in a career in a healthcare related field. I learned about the Crossroad volunteer internship program, and I thought it would be a great program, as someone interested in but not familiar with healthcare, for me to join.
During one of my shifts at Crossroad, one of the physicians asked me to help schedule multiple referrals for a patient, referrals that had been made a couple months prior during a time the interns had been out of the clinic for an extended period of time due to break. I stepped into the patient’s room, and it was clear to me the patient was upset. I assured the patient I would do the best I could to get the referrals scheduled after our time meeting. It can, at times, be daunting to see the large amount of referrals that are made. This interaction, however, instilled in me the impact this program has in helping patients get access to adequate care. This program has taught me about the barriers to healthcare, including insurance, access to transportation, or communication, as interns must take into account all of these points in reaching out to patients and scheduling appointments. Being a year long, this program has also enabled me to establish relationships at Crossroad and meet other students in similar aspirations.

#theVIPexperience Post #87: Francisco de la Garza Iga

The past couple of months that I have been able to intern with Crossroad Health Center have been amazing. I have been able to share a piece of myself throughout many different activities in the clinic. My first rotation involved calling patients to help them schedule their appointments. I was specially focused on help Spanish speaker patients schedule their appointments for them due to some language barriers. Also, I was able to help with English-Spanish translation between doctors and patients. I am pretty happy with the opportunity because I was able to learn a lot of medical terminology while translating and developing new knowledge on how to perform several different physical examinations done in a day to day basis in hospital. During my second rotation I was able to be part of the Tobacco Treatment Group in here I was able to develop a lot of knowledge regarding tobacco use. In TTG I was able to weekly learn something new about the way tobacco affect the brain, the heart, skin, and several other organisms in the body. Also, I was able to learn about several techniques and trick to handle bad habits and improve everyday life. I am so happy because of the opportunity Crossroad Health Center has given me to learn more about the profession that I love, which is medicine. As a physician I hope to be able to impact the Medical Community in many positive way and hope to improve the Healthcare System in order to make it more accessible to everyone. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

#theVIPexperience Post #86: Rita Atalor

My experience as a VIP at the Crossroad Health Center, has been instructive and rewarding in many ways. When I started with the program, I had minimal knowledge of the healthcare system in the United States. This was partly my motivation for applying to the program, to gain insight into the behind-the-scenes of patient care. However, my time at Crossroads has taught me much more than that. I have learnt about insurance companies, HIPAA policies, scheduling, and documentation, but beyond that, I have learnt the value of each individual in the patient care group. From the nurse, to the medical assistant, to the people behind the scenes scheduling referrals, each person plays an immeasurable role in providing the best care for the patient. 

Currently in my second rotation, I volunteer with the Tobacco Treatment Group. Through the weekly meetings, I have interacted and connected with patients with an immense amount of knowledge and an openness to share and learn with one other. We are a small community of people who come together weekly to be in kinship and solidarity with one another. I have learnt so many new things by just being in conversation with these patients. 
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to a part of the Crossroad community and look forward to the rest of my experience here.