Here are some questions that we didn't get to during the seminar:
1. Were there any challenges in representing and implementing change for underserved populations?
It is always challenging to prove the value of others less fortunate- to those not experiencing the outcomes of being underserved. I used opportunities and relevant timing to present data of the underserved and how it affects the majority. For example, I explained the importance of meeting the needs of underserved populations in primary care by preventing higher level expenditures or illness. I demonstrated how not doing so becomes costly to tax payers who have to pay for ER visits or prolonged hospitalization of the uninsured. I made myself accessible to organizations interested in changing outcomes and I was subsequently invited to organizations and community forums to explain why the care of the underserved is important for maintaining a healthy community.
Challenges are always opportunities!
2. How did you navigate those situations? Did these challenges to implement change differ in the various places you have trained and worked at?
It's interesting that although New York, Southeast Florida, and Denver provided different practice arenas, the needs of underserved populations had similar threads. I feel my experiences build on each other and the more I was willing to learn, the more opportunities I had in giving voice to the needs of the populations I served. In New York, I focused on acute care delivery inside the hospital and preparing them to re-enter the community they lived in. In Southeast Florida, I focused in primary care and became involved with community programs aimed at keeping the underserved healthy. In Denver, I am involved in teaching the next generation of nurses and developing programs that specifically address the needs of the underserved populations.
3. What's up next for you? What are your goals right now?
I know where my passions reside and also what my skills and experience lend themselves to do, so I will continue to seek opportunities where I can use them. I would like to leverage my journey to change outcomes and to help others pave their way. I know what I will continue to teach and practice for years to come. I see the possibility of heading a college somewhere in this country-
all in the name of giving hope to others, especially to those that want to achieve dreams but do not have the infrastructure to see possibilities.
4. But the school is not a reflection of the city it serves. I'd love to further create more opportunities for those underserved communities to access CU.
That is so true- but I believe we are in the right time. There's a movement focused on the value of diversity. If you look around, opportunities are coming up in each department seeking to reflect the communities around us. I have taken on an executive role in the development of a future health commons in Aurora where all of Anschutz's disciplines will play a role in reaching out to the underserved neighborhoods in Aurora. More over a major part of the project will be to streamline folks in the community into the health sciences.
Thank you again, Dr. Medina!