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.
Alumna: Katie Wehr
Service Term: 2006-2007
Host Site: Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition
Katie had a passion for service and volunteering while growing, which led her to the National Health Corps Florida program after graduating college. In addition to fulfilling her that passion, she discovered her career path.
Her year of service created a lot of “aha” moments in her life that helped her view how community change happens and how collaborative partnerships come together to solve the complex health problems that Northeast Florida is facing. Learning that child health is a key marker for a community’s health helped her realized that maternal and child health was what she wanted to pursue, so she went to the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill to earn her Master of Public Health degree in that field.
“I witnessed the power of policies not just in the ways it shaped quality of services, eligibility, and application/renewal processes for various safety net programs or arrangements between the state and local health departments, but also how federal, state, and local policies came together to shape the environments in which I lived and worked and in which the families that I served lived and worked and their kids learned and played — from housing conditions to nutrition choices to job options,” Katie said. “These options in turn shaped ideas about what individuals and families expected of their community and the choices they had.”
Katie is now a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, focusing on developing evidence and accelerating action on what it takes to create communities that are safe for kids to grow up in.