Addressing the Social Determinants of Health: 1 Month at the Ada Jenkins Center

In the second week of my fellowship at the Ada Jenkins Center, I reached out to the Director of Impact and Engagement to formulate ways to increase patient numbers at the clinic. The clinic had recently stopped seeing patients from Moorseville, 30% of their patients, as the Center moved to just focus on Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville. Excited by the initiative I was taking, she formed a mission team of the two of us, the Director of Workforce Development, and the Director of Coordinated Services to work towards that goal. Among the many takeaways I got from our first meeting was how humbling it was. I have volunteered at the clinic for three years, and my current fellowship focuses on the clinic. To me, Ada had always been the clinic, first. Working with the directors of the different departments at the center was a shock to my system, and broadened my view. At Ada, the clinic is only biweekly and is not the focus point of the center, as it always had been to me. This shift in perspective was initially jarring, but working in the team taught me to readjust my goals and expectations. I had come into the meeting with plans centered primarily around the clinic, and I now had to be sure to integrate diverse perspectives and objectives into a common goal that would help not just the clinic, but the center as a whole.

While I am still on the fringe of the Davidson Bubble working here (I am a couple minutes away from the college and I do see Davidson College volunteers all the time, after all), I have begun to appreciate just how tight it’s hold is. It took me leaving Davidson College and beginning to work here for me to realize Ada’s mission was so much greater than just the clinic. The Center’s mission reads, “The Ada Jenkins Center exists to help people in our community create lasting solutions for health, education, and economic stability.” Much of my early work at the clinic has revolved around helping the clinic meet these goals for our patients.

Much of my planning is still very much in the early stages, but we are hoping to implement changes soon that will begin to make Thursday clinic nights an opportunity for patients to find lasting solutions for many of their goals. Soon, we hope to have an information table open that will advertise the Investment Pathway to patients. Eventually we hope to incentivize Investment Pathway client-partner’s to use medical services, as well. It’s a long road ahead and I will be excited to see the impact I can create working with the Ada Jenkins Center.

The Science of Nature – The Nature of Science

Today at work I spent the day with 80 young girls from Project Scientist, a summer camp for girls interested in STEM fields. We went on a nature hike, built model buffer zones as water filters, made leaf rubbings, and played field games. At the end of the day the girls had a chance to […]

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The Players at the Task Force Table

Charts fly across the screen. Graphs depicting overdose rates, numbers showing government spending, lists of our own efforts spark discussion, back and forths, reminders that people are dying. This Substance Use Disorders Task Force (SUDTF) is a window into MAHEC’s broader efforts in public health –researchers, next educators, next to providers teaching, learning, problem-solving. Our […]

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How to Mitigate an Epidemic When it isn’t an Epidemic: MAHEC’s Efforts to Serve a Country in Crisis

The United States opioid crisis has been titled the “Opioid Epidemic” by the CDC and picked up by media drawing attention to the growing number of 600,000 people who have died from drug overdoses in the past 10 years. Vox has even claimed it as the, “epidemics of epidemics” attributing this largely to the over […]

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An Intro to Grant Writing at CCHC

Charlotte Community Health Clinic (CCHC) relies on a significant amount of grant funding from diverse organizations. These include local faith groups, national non-profits, and the state and federal government. During my year at the clinic, I was given the chance to work on a number of these grants. Here’s three things I’ve learned as a […]

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In the Pursuit of a Seamless Network of Care

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of insured people in the United States has increased; however, 12.2% (Q4 2017) remain without insurance in many communities. Healthcare safety nets continue to provide essential, community-based services to the remaining underinsured and uninsured people. Some of these individuals lack employee-sponsored coverage and their […]

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Learning from Change

My first two months at Habitat for Humanity International were a whirlwind. Friday of my first week I was asked to travel to South Africa to support final preparations for a regional conference we were organizing on land rights and governance. Saturday morning, less than 24-hours later, I was sitting on a plane watching DC […]

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More Than a Roof and Four Walls

As a young professional in DC, one of the first questions I usually get asked is, “Where do you work?” I’m lucky because almost everyone has heard of Habitat for Humanity. But most people I talk to have no idea that Habitat for Humanity is a global organization, operating in nearly 70 countries. In the […]

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Fundraising for a Free Medical Clinic

Passing the halfway point working at Matthews Free Medical Clinic (MFMC) has been bittersweet. Being able to experience so much, yet knowing time is fleeting, has left me rather melancholy. In attempts to remain positive, I want to share a very impressionable moment along my journey thus far. As previously explained in my first blog […]

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Landscapes of Gratitude

Although I still have many months left in my tenure as an Impact Fellow with the Carolina Thread Trail and Catawba Lands Conservancy, I’m already starting to feel the slight tug of nostalgia for my time here. It’s that same feeling I got in my final semester at Davidson; the one where there’s still so […]

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