Meet our Members!

Name: Glamarys Acevedo
Position: Maternity Care Coalition Cribs for Kids Health Educator
Hometown: Fayetteville, NC
College: Campbell University
Why did you join PHC? I wanted to serve an underserved community while getting experience in the public health field.
What are your future plans? I want to pursue my MPH/MSW. Who knows where that may lead me–possibilities are bright and endless.
What is one thing you would change about health care? That getting quality health services was something everyone could get no matter their economic status.

Because we all want to know…
Favorite thing about Philadelphia?
 The diversity and how it is expressed in the food culture.
Favorite place in the city? Reading Terminal Market – noticing a food theme here.
If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Jazzberry Jam
Typical packed lunch?  If I’m packing my own lunch–it’s going to be a sandwich and yogurt. If my kind co-worker(Dorothy) is packing lunch–I get to eat delicious left-overs–real food.

Amazingly Different

I get to drive a brightly colored van around the city to provide families in need with safe places for their infants to sleep and with the latest safe sleep information to help lower the infant mortality rate in Philadelphia. (A baby should always sleep in an empty crib, on its back, in a smoke-free environment!) .

Before our clients can receive a crib from our program, they must be assessed. A bulk of my office days are spent speaking with clients and assessing their needs. This process takes a lot of patience at times, especially if the clients are in a difficult mood or if English is not their primary language.  I have some clients that are so happy to have someone to talk to, who isn‘t rude, that I have spent up to 45 minutes on the phone just hearing about their life story. Lesson to be learned: Kindness goes a long way, people. You never know what that small gesture can do for someone’s day.

Once clients are accepted into the program they are schedule to receive their portable cribs. Look at all those cribs!

Time to load them up! Done with a smile of course J

Ta-da 29 more cribs to go!

A majority of our clients received their portable cribs during a safe sleep workshop.  Only in special circumstances are they given home visits, where I‘ve probably had the kindest clients–usually from another country, treat me with so much warmth and kindness.

During the workshop we discuss where babies commonly sleep and which of those places are actually safe for babies. The clients get the latest information on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and how they can lower their child’s risk of passing away from SIDS, or accidental death related to sleep environments. This is very sensitive information and a lot of times we have clients in the room that have had an infant(s) which has passed away or know of people who have lost a child to SIDS. We have had clients share their stories during workshop and it really hits the message home for all in attendance.

My time at Maternity Care Coalition has been a great experience that has made a meaningful impact on my life. I can just hope that I’ve made some sort of impact in the lives of the people I’ve been in contact with this year.

And with that I leave you with a quote that rings true to my year of service:

“Do the kind of things that come from the heart, When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied, you won’t be envious, you won’t be longing for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back.” -Morrie Schwartz

-Glamarys Acevedo, Maternity Care Coalition

Meet our Members!

Name: Sarah McIntyre
Position: Patient Assistance Program Advocate
Hometown: Nashville, TN
College: Johns Hopkins University
Why did you join PHC? I joined PHC to witness, first-hand, the barriers to access to health care, and to learn how to overcome them.
What are your future plans? I’m interested in global public health, and thus plan to pursue an MD/MPH…and change the world!
What is one thing you would change about health care? The health care system in our country is convoluted. I don’t think someone should need an advanced degree to be able to navigate it. Though good health is a gift, good health care shouldn’t be a commodity. Shifting how we think about health care on a fundamental level is the first step to drastic improvement.

Because we all want to know…
Patient population that you’re newly exposed to/learning more about? 
The African-American Muslim population. Before PHC, I had never spoken to a woman in a full Burka. This is a common occurrence at Health Center 10. I absolutely love how culturally diverse our patient population is.
Favorite place in the city? That’s a toss up. Rittenhouse Square or the art museum.
Favorite SEPTA experience? One day the MFL ran an express route from 2nd Street to Frankford. Best morning commute ever. I’m still not sure it wasn’t a dream.
Which celebrity do you get mistaken for? Katie Holmes

More Than “Just Paperwork”

During my past ten months of service as a Patient Assistance Program (PAP) advocate through the Philadelphia Health Corps, I have often struggled to explain to my friends and family why I love what I do every day at the clinic. When the program won a National Service Impact Award a few weeks ago and I was interviewed for a story that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer, I met the same challenge. After I had detailed what I do day to day, the reporter made a comment that caught me off guard. He couldn’t understand why I was so passionate about a job that sounded like “just a lot of paperwork” to him.

He was partially right; a good portion of my day is spent doing basic office work, seemingly trivial tasks like sending faxes, making phone calls, and editing Excel spreadsheets. But, the payoff is huge, a fact I am reminded of every time I work with a patient. Without my help, these patients would not be able to afford their medications and would go without them. For most, this would be a serious lapse in care. With my help, these patients don’t have to make the impossible decision between purchasing medication and paying a bill.

And yet, it is so much more than providing medication. Over the year, I have gotten to know my patients. I have been moved by their stories of tragedy and inspired by their resilience. There have been tears, heavy moments of silence, laughter, and expressions of gratitude. There have been conflicts, resolutions, and hugs. These are the memories that will stay with me.

In the same newspaper story, the reporter quoted one of my patients, who called me his “guardian angel.” The term surprised me at first; I guess I didn’t realize the impact I had made on him. It’s easy to forget how much a smile, a listening ear, and a kind word can mean to someone who has no other support system.

My AmeriCorps experience has been life changing. There have been many challenges, but I have come out a more compassionate and confident individual. I have a clearer sense of the barriers to access health care that exist in our current system, and I have learned how to begin to overcome them. I have also learned a lot about myself. But, I could not have made it through this year without the support of the other PHC members. So to all of you and everyone who has helped me through this year, I want to say thank you. It has truly been an incredible year, and I will miss you all.

-Sarah McIntyre, Philadelphia Department of Public Health