Learning About Public Health

Thurs 12.29.2011

Serving in AmeriCorps has great professional advantages. I have discovered how much I enjoy working in a fast-paced, medical setting. There is never a dull moment. I am learning a lot about the administrative and clinical process involved in operating a health center. Working directly in the community has taught me how to professionally interact with individuals from diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds. I am now positive that I want to pursue a Master’s of Public Health and eventually a PhD.

I have developed an understating of how integral public health is to the functioning of society. I feel that health facilities are the backbone of the community. On another level, it is enlightening to work side by side with the individuals who are sustaining the health of the community. It is an honor to know such brilliant, driven, compassionate people.

This experience has heightened my appreciation for the healthcare setting. Being immersed in the intricacies of cultural diversity has made me aware of the universal right to health that all humans deserve. Regardless of race, status or culture we all deserve the right to quality healthcare. Serving with the Philadelphia Health Corps has strengthened my commitment to learn about health promotion and disease prevention. I am excited to learn more about the public health field.

-Kimberly Weller, Philadelphia Department of Public Health


Happy Patients = Happy Advocates

Wed 12.28.2011

       This experience is truly surpassing my expectations. Everyday is a different story. I am beginning to establish great rapport with some of the patients, which is an amazing perk that I never anticipated. After a few efforts to enroll one patient, her medication finally came in today. She gave me a high five as she walked through the door and continued to grace me with compliments in Spanish. After giving her the medicine, she held her heart and said something about love, again in Spanish. I didn’t quite understand what she said, but I am sure her words were touching. As she left, she gave me a huge hug. I realized how lucky I am to partake in this meaningful opportunity.

        Making patients happy is incredibly rewarding. Advocates are lucky enough to experience the direct positive impact of our efforts multiple times a day. Being a patient advocate is a personal job that brings you closer to those you serve. It grants you a window into people’s lives. You learn about their families, their living situations, their stories. This is an eye opening experience that allows you to see new areas of the community from a unique perspective.

      As a patient advocate, every ounce of effort contributes to a healthier community. We see the direct impact of our efforts through daily interactions with happy, gracious patients. This is an enriching experience laden with gratification, hard work, important responsibilities, and great learning opportunities.

-Kimberly Weller, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

A Day in the Life

Whenever someone asks me about what Philadelphia is like, I tell them that it’s great place to go if you want to make a difference in someone’s life. I’ll give a healthcare-related example of what I mean. Recently, my coworkers and I attended a yearly update in which we learned that Philadelphia had the some of the highest incidence rates for diabetes cardiovascular disease, asthma, COPD, as well as various types of cancer and STI’s among the top ten largest cities in the United States. There’s so much need in this city, and so anyone who wants to help will be able to do quite a lot.

As a prescription assistance advocate, my job is to help uninsured, low-income individuals and families obtain vital medications that they would otherwise not be able to afford. I work in a city health center, that, along with one of of the other city health centers, receives the highest volume of patients out of all the community health centers in Philadelphia.  It’s located in south Philadelphia, where many immigrants and refugees are resettled. As a result, I get to  workwith many vulnerable populations, making a real, significant, and positive effect in their lives. Although the actual work is not terribly glamorous, and there are days when you don’t really feel like you did anything useful at all, it’s easy to be reminded of how important you are to people when someone offers a heartfelt “thank you” for everything that you do.

The pictures below show the amount of medications a city health center receives on a weekly basis.

-Stephen Yang, Philadelphia Department of Public Health


Welcome to the Philadelphia Health Corps Blog!

We are so excited to launch this blog that will keep you updated on the recent activities and lives of Philadelphia Health Corps members! Each week, a different member will take charge of the blog and share his or her experiences. The blog posts will range from stories of life in Philadelphia to both the hardships and rewards of serving in various Philadelphia neighborhoods. Be sure to check back regularly to read the latest happenings and to stay up to date on the Philadelphia Health Corps!

Meet our 2011-2012 PHC Members:

Glamarys Acevedo
Cassie Campbell
Edinah Chikunguwo
Zach Coppola
Nadia Elkaddi
Robyn Foster
Will Frappaolo
Jordan Gladys
Kathryn Green
Paul Gwengi-Anam
Emily Jones
Josie Kabambi
Susie Kim
Reka Magge
Sarah McIntyre
Robert Modest
Sandra Moise
Soha Shah
Chaz Shelton
Laura Smith
Ben Starobin
Lisa Stepelevich
Stephen Supoyo
Tess Thorman
Kimmy Weller
Maryalice Wolfe
Stephen Yang
Sara Yoeun