July 31st brings to a close the tenure of our three outstanding AmeriCorps members. The AmeriCorps program at Women’s Community Clinic is part of our extensive workforce development programs, which focus on training the next generation of healthcare professionals. Jay Ruby, Julia Stumpf, and Marla Lucas worked diligently with our staff and clients for the past year, assisting with arguably one of the most difficult roles in the Clinic: shift coordinating. Shift coordinating takes an incredible amount of organization, strategy, and communication between nearly every member of the Clinic team. Shift coordinators work with Clinicians, management, and volunteers to provide clients each day with the best health care experience possible. The AmeriCorps team also played a large role in building out the Clinic’s Outreach program, and worked each week to bring harm-reductive health care and support to the Mission’s homeless and marginally housed women. Jay, Julia, and Marla are shining examples of what we at the Clinic hope is the future of healthcare.
For Jay, the most influential and rewarding part of their experience was working in the Clinic’s Outreach program. “It’s a really important program of the Clinic that often goes unnoticed. My favorite part of it was putting our community in context. We try our best to get women we see in outreach to take control of their health and their own decision making, but Outreach shows you the tremendous barriers that many women face to making healthy choices.”
Outreach also helped the group develop the interpersonal skills that are necessary to be an outstanding doctor. “We really learned what it was to develop rapport with a client. To have that level of trust takes time and effort, and for me that skill was the hardest to learn,” said Julia.
While Outreach was a large part of their work here at the Clinic, the AmeriCorps members also contributed significantly to general Clinic operations. And as each looks towards their career in healthcare, they plan on drawing on their experience in the Clinic to inform and shape their roles as health care providers.
Marla was inspired by the interprofessional practice at the Clinic. “It’s not top-down here, it’s much more collaborative. Everyone plays a big role, and I see this as the way healthcare will evolve.” She also credits the Clinic for allowing each team member to pursue professional interests and for incorporating these interests their roles at the Clinic. Marla and Julia especially thank Lauren Fiel, a volunteer RN, for shepherding them through the training to become certified Medical Assistants, a level of professional training they never expected they would receive from an AmeriCorps program. All three say they have benefitted from the “birds-eye” view of clinic operations that their AmeriCorps position gave them. “We’re lucky to have this experience, since most providers don’t understand the intricacies of simply getting clients into appointments,” says Julia.
So what’s next for these intrepid young professionals? Jay will be attending Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine in the fall, and is excited to become a doctor that incorporates a client-centered approach to their practice. They hope to continue working in small community clinic environments like ours. Julia will be moving back to her home state of Minnesota to begin applying for medical school. Marla is staying on through October to assist with our transition to Electronic Health Records, Primary Care, and Medi-Cal at the Clinic.
The Clinic hosts AmeriCorps staff members each year through the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium HealthCorps Program, which places AmeriCorps members throughout its network of partner community clinics. New AmeriCorps members will be starting at the Clinic at the end of September 2014.