Thursday, November 21, 2019

#theVIPexperience Post #77: Current VIP

    During my freshman year, I changed a lot as a person. This can be attributed to many things: living on my own for the first time, meeting new people, and facing new challenges. Despite all of these factors, I attribute the most change to one experience: The Crossroad Health Center Volunteer Internship Program. During my first semester as a volunteer intern, I was given the opportunity to shadow a nurse practitioner and follow up with patients and serve them in any way they needed. I worked with patients to continue their care with a specialist and ensuring that they are able to find a provider who accepts their insurance. Being able to aid and serve an underrepresented population was a truly impactful experience that gave me a lot of perspective on how truly blessed I am. It also gave me a lot of valuable hands-on experience that I can use in my future profession. Through this program, I learned valuable knowledge about documentation, HIPPA laws, and how to interact with different types of patients. Being able to shadow a nurse practitioner was an exceptional experience that further confirmed that I had chosen the perfect career for me. My second semester featured the most personal and academic challenges I have faced in my life, but I always found solace in going to the Crossroad Health Center. I would work two four-hour shifts each week, but it never once felt like it was an obligation. It immediately became the highlight of my week each week and gave me many meaningful connections and friendships. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#theVIPexperience Post #76: Michael Nichols

In one word, Crossroads is family. From my first shift over the summer to now my second rotation, I have been overwhelmed by the sense of community at Crossroads Health Center. At the start of every shift, I am welcomed with a smile as I enter the building. People are excited to see me and I am excited to see them. It is the little things like this that really make Crossroads feel like home. Having shifts at the same time each week, you work alongside a lot of the same physicians and care teams. Due to this, you really form relationships with the Crossroads staff. Physicians know your name and you are truly a part of the team. Physicians rely on VIPs to make sure that their patients are seen by the specialists. Without VIPs, the community would not function successfully. VIPs are needed. It is an amazing feeling to be relied on by professionals. The work VIPs do matters. The calls that VIPs make change the lives of the patients at Crossroad Health center. You can hear it in their voices. By volunteering your time to help patients, you are greatly influencing the lives of patients in a positive manner. The VIP program has taught me systems like Athena Health that are used in the medical world and this familiarity will be useful in my pursuit of my medical professional goals. Shadowing physicians has given me valuable clinical experience. The community of Crossroads Health Center has given me so much that it is ironic that I am the one volunteering. I encourage everyone who is considering this program to do it. The experience, the people, and the family will change your live forever.

Friday, November 8, 2019

#theVIPexperience Post #75: Tasneem Ikram

During undergrad, most students have to volunteer for various reasons. Whether it be because they’re pre-med and their advisors told them to, or if they must volunteer a certain number of hours in order to fulfill a scholarship requirement. During my undergraduate career, I volunteered at many different places for the reasons previously mentioned. However, most of these experiences started and ended the same. I started out excited to be a part of the program and by the end of my required time, I no longer felt much joy during the experience. It came down to the fact that I really didn’t feel like I was making a difference in someone else’s life. When I stumbled onto the Crossroad Volunteer Internship Program, I was intrigued to say the least. It was like nothing I had ever done before but more importantly, it was clear that this program would allow me to legitimately help not only one individual, but many people. After 2 rotations, I can still say that I am very excited and energized by this volunteer experience. It’s amazing to have the chance to help multiple people in just a 4 hour time frame each week. Not only did I gain a meaningful experience, I also gained quite a bit of knowledge. I was exposed to the real world, to put it one way. I had to find a way to help patients whose insurance wasn’t accepted by any clinic within walking distance. I had to find a way to make sure patients without health insurance were able to receive proper help and treatment without them having to worry excessively about money. Last, but certainly not least, I was given the opportunity to help those without transportation, without anyone to look after them, without anyone in their corner. These patients might not know my name at the end of the day but what truly matters to me is to do my best so that they can rest easy with one less problem, one less worry. I am absolutely blessed to have been a part of the CVIP and hope many others join the program!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

#theVIPexperience Post #74: Nadia Alam

Service to a community takes shape in many forms, from one-day to one-month to one-year. However, the most impactful relationships occur through consistent and concerted efforts. At Crossroad, the opportunity to consistently reach out to patients, understand their barriers to care, and work with fellow healthcare centers in the community to ensure successful health outcomes is a humbling experience. It has demonstrated the differences in perception of care as well as the dedication both the healthcare team and patients have to learning and growing from their experiences. I am always in awe of the commitment providers have for their patients, which further encourages me to ensure every detail of a referral is communicated thoroughly to the patient to promote overall care and advance health outcomes. 
Throughout my experiences with working at Crossroad, I have developed a deep appreciation for community engaged efforts to promote a healthier neighborhood. It is inspiring to see the cross-connections and relationships between multiply health promoting organizations from fellow healthcare centers to foodbanks all working together to ensure neighbors in the community received the resources to carry out a healthy lifestyle. It is only through a joint collaboration among the community that will allow for successful health outcomes. 
Above all, this experience has illustrated the importance of community engagement and the impact it has on encouraging healthy behavior in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

#theVIPexperience Post #73: Kathleen Topp

As I walked into Crossroad Health Center on my first day as a VIP, I knew it would be a day that I would never forget. Sitting here today, having worked at Crossroad Health Center now for almost a year, I am so thankful for everything that I have learned, not only about myself but the community that surrounds Crossroad. Every week I come into Crossroad; every employee greets me with a “hello.” From the security guard sitting at the front desk to the MA’s and providers, everyone's happiness fills the office. Being a VIP has opened my eyes to all the different aspects of the healthcare system. This program has shown me the positive effects of taking a little extra time to help a patient that is struggling. At Crossroad, everyone puts all their effort into providing the best care for their patients. From the minute they walk into the clinic to months after their appointment, all different staff members are looking out for them. Being a VIP at Crossroad has made me want to become a healthcare professional that works with the people that need it most. For example, the people that are often pushed to the corner due to their circumstances. I will forever be grateful for all the different experiences I gained through the VIP program at Crossroad Health Center. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

#theVIPexperience Post #72: Current VIP

Most meaningful interaction:
I have been fortunate enough to encounter and be impacted by many patients during my time as a VIP at Crossroad Health Center. Each individual I have had the pleasure of working with has touched my heart. The most meaningful interaction that I have had with a patient was perhaps the simplest. As I was going through the weekly referrals and making calls, I had an interaction with a patient that completely changed how my views on the impact I could make on patient’s lives, even just as a volunteer. I had reached out to a patient to ask if they wanted any help scheduling the specialist referral their provider had ordered for them, a routine task for a VIP,  and received the most grateful response I have ever gotten. Coming from a different country, the patient had struggled with being able to effectively communicate in order to schedule their appointment and was planning on not even scheduling it, due to the anxiety surrounding the task. They thanked me numerous times for offering to help them with this seemingly simple task. The genuine appreciation laced into their gratitude left a lasting effect on my heart, making me realize how impactful the work done by the VIPs is. Something as small as offering to schedule an appointment for someone can be the equivalent of taking a large burden off their shoulders and giving them some much needed relief. Even though that phone call was nothing out of the ordinary, the impact it had on me has guided me through my time here at Crossroad. 

#theVIPexperience Post #71: Heather Wardwell

My motivation for becoming a doctor stems from my desire to bring healthcare to underserved populations where basic healthcare needs are not often met. I have a strong belief that quality healthcare should be a basic right afforded everyone no matter their racial, ethnic, economic, or social standing. After earning my medical degree, I want to focus my career on bringing quality healthcare to underserved populations globally by working with an organization such as Doctors Without Borders. Through the promotion of overall health, the life expectancy of developing countries can be increased and therefore produce healthier, happier people that are able to contribute more to society. Ultimately a healthier population can lay the foundation for a more developed and thriving society. 

Prior to earning my medical degree, I am focusing on using the skills I currently have as pre-medical student to help the underserved populations in my area. I am able to accomplish this through volunteer programs offered by organizations such as Crossroad Health Center. Since being apart of the Crossroad VIP program I have gained more insight into the health inequalities created by the issue of poverty. Many of the patients Crossroad servers face daily struggles regarding food, income, housing, transportation, internet or phone access, along with numerous other obstacles. These challenges in combination with lack of access to or knowledge of the healthcare system, make it hard for patients to receive the quality care they deserve. 

Working as a VIP I am able to help these patients navigate the healthcare system and receive the medical care they might have otherwise gone without. Seeing the obstacles patients face in simply making a doctors appointment has made me come to better appreciate the resources and opportunities I have been privileged to have in life. No longer do I take for granted my health insurance that lowers my out of pocket expenses, the phone I can use anytime to schedule a doctor’s appointment, or the car I use to get to appointments. Not only am I grateful for the opportunity to help these patients, but I am reaffirmed in my desire to pursue a career to help these patients and many more in anyway I can.