Gratitude for our interns!
By The PHCD Team | April 3, 2016
Twice a year, PHCD Community Health team hosts student interns from Dominican University of California. These students are smart, hard working, and passionate about improving health. Moreover, while most have an interest in the clinical side of health care, they're also interested in wellness and prevention efforts that occur outside the walls of a hospital. Our interns have the opportunity to merge their medical knowledge with our community health efforts, and in doing, gain a more nuanced understanding of the many ways good health can be achieved.
For the the past four months, we've hosted the wonderful Alysha Lippard. A life-long Sonoma County resident, Alysha is finishing up her final year of nursing school, but had chance to immerse herself all things community health related and had these thoughts to share on her time with PHCD:
"What is a health care district?" I wondered. "Do they help people get health care?" Being a senior in nursing school at Dominican University, I would have thought that I would know what this agency did...but I was at a loss. I soon learned through my preceptorship that creating a sound bite for a healthcare district and all they do for a community is difficult. Let me start by saying we all should thank them!
Created in the 1940's, healthcare districts use to just be focused on helping rural communities run their local hospitals; now, with the shift in health care towards and prevention and wellness, many district find themselves with a public health focus. Being a lover of the emergency department, with the fast paced-action care, I got a view of what happens in community health behind the scenes and the policies in existence and in the making. The Petaluma Health Care Districts's deliberate grass-roots approach to providing care makes me appreciate those that are willing to see the bigger picture, the connections between the community and the clinical, and those willing to see a project thru until end even if it takes several years. This dedication to the providing care to all is one that must be acknowledged.
One of the projects I was fortunate to support during my time here was the Petaluma Sober Circle. The community realized that there was a gap in care for chronically inebriated homeless persons. The Petaluma Health Care District, the Petaluma Police Department, Petaluma Fire Department, COTS, St. Joseph Health, Kaiser, Catholic charities and others were able to come together and develop a pilot project to help these persons. The emphasis is to provide treatment and support and help them stay on a pathway of sobriety towards a healthier well being. They offer case management to those they serve for everything from clothing, to shelter, and accompanying to court appearances. I was able to participate in meetings, provide input, and develop materials - I even created the logo and tag line to help residents and the community better understand and recognize that support for a sober life is available!
Interning with the Petaluma Health Care District has reminded me of the importance of nurturing the community in which you reside. We are so easily wrapped up in our own lives, we forget about those around us and how we can better serve our community. The Petaluma Health Care District strives everyday to make this place we call home and those who live here thrive to their maximum state of well-being.