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.
- 2009-2010: Florida Department of Health Duval County Hospital Emergency Room Health Alternatives Program (HERAP)
- 2010-2011: River Region Human Services
After several international services trips to Nicaragua and Peru, Robert had great experiences but was left wanting to connect with his own community in the United States.. He knew he wanted to fully commit to a career of medicine, but wanted to get hands-on experience on what it would be like to work in a clinic environment so he committed to a year of service with the National Health Corps Florida program.
Robert ultimately served two years at different locations to learn techniques needed to maneuver around the complexities of health care for underserved clients. He noticed how unfair environmental issues were in neighborhoods with poor transportation systems, no access to healthy food stores and crime and began to understand the struggle of the clients. After Robert completed his terms, he obtained a Master of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Toledo, and then he spent four years in medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Robert is now a resident in an internal medicine program at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where a lot of the population is uninsured and undocumented immigrants. AmeriCorps gave him the understanding and empathy for these patients that some of his colleagues in the field of medicine do not possess. He uses this experience to find reachable resources for the patients and explain in a way that a patient can understand.
“The biggest lesson I learned when I served in AmeriCorps was that the clients already know that some of these barriers are tough, but they felt that other people did not hear their voice,” says Robert. “So today as a physician, I may not have solutions, but I can always at least listen to the thoughts of my patients.”