AmeriCorps Week, a celebration of all things AmeriCorps is March 11-17. Each day, we’re highlighting the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps alumni that have served at various public health-focused nonprofits and government organizations across Northeast Florida since 2004.
The Coalition has supported NHC Florida since its inception and has handled the administrative and fiscal responsibilities of the program since August 2013. NHC Florida alumni continue to successfully grow out of a year of service into careers that both meet their professional goals and personally give back to the community.
When Anna applied for medical school while in college and didn’t get accepted, she didn’t let her doubts get the best of her. Filled with a passion for service in public health, she was also introduced to AmeriCorps through a service organization she was involved with in college. As someone who wanted to learn more about public health and figure out if a career in medicine was right for her, she found the National Health Corps Florida program.
According to Anna, her service year was a “truly transformative experience.” She realized she took preventative care for granted, because many people do not have health insurance and access to quality health care. Through serving alongside physicians at the Bear Run Clinic, she was able to see that the most important roles are building and maintaining relationships, empowering clients and promoting behavioral change that can prevent and improve the long-term outcomes of chronic diseases. She also took advantage of opportunities like becoming a certified pre- and post-HIV test counselor, volunteering with the American Heart Association, Tobacco-Free Jacksonville Coalition and St. Vincent’s Mobile Health Outreach Ministry.
In Anna’s words, service is at the heart of the AmeriCorps program and this confirmed her passion for medicine. After her service term ended, Anna started working as a program coordinator for Vision Is Priceless, a nonprofit dedicated to improving vision health for children and adults in Northeast Florida, and started volunteering at Volunteers in Medicine, a free primary care clinic in downtown Jacksonville. After gaining service experience in the National Health Corps AmeriCorps program and work experience through the connections she made, she recently applied to medical school again and got accepted! She’s excited to start pursuing her dream.