Gabrielle Davis details what led her to choosing her placement site within the healthcare industry during her admissions process with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
The newest upset in healthcare reform has graced headlines day after day in recent months. This increased media exposure, along with the fact that nearly every American interacts with the healthcare system at some point in their life, makes healthcare a prominent issue. Yet, while the media focuses on the debates and drama occurring on Capitol Hill, the stories of those underserved by current healthcare systems, and those threatened by many of the proposed changes to healthcare policy are less widespread.
A course that I took as an undergraduate titled “Healthcare and the Poor” opened my eyes to the world of health inequity and healthcare insurance. While taking this course I simultaneously dealt with a running injury without my parents nearby, leading to an even greater appreciation for the confusing, expensive, and stressful nature of obtaining healthcare. As an aspiring physician, my education and lived experiences added a new dimension to my understanding of the role of a healthcare provider.
I now realize that, in addition to treating the symptoms that my patients present and the underlying physiological cause of those symptoms, I must also consider the social determinants of health in my practice. Furthermore, I must act as an advocate for my patients to ensure that the delivery and payment system I am working in allows access and affordability for all.
In light of this, I chose a JVC placement at a federally qualified health center. It is an opportunity to observe one method of delivering affordable care to the underinsured and uninsured. As a Care Team Patient Advocate at Neighborhood Family Practice in Cleveland, OH I will have the opportunity to work with patients to coordinate appointments with specialists and create linkages with other social services.
I committed to this placement because I could contribute to a practice that aims to provide a quality and compassionate medical home for its patients. I hope that this year will inspire me to enter medical school studies with patients always at the forefront of my mind. Even more so, that it prepares me to engage in conversations that spread awareness about the experiences of those struggling to access needed medical care in the United States.