PHA COORDINATOR | Biology
WHY DID YOU BECOME A PART OF SCOPE?
As a first year, I anticipated SCOPE PHA to be a is a program that would have allowed me to practice and refine my skills in the area of patient care and providing quality customer service in underserved areas. I firmly believe that healthcare providers are not just doctors, nurses, or volunteers at a hospital, but are—first and foremost—humans who should be able to help and understand their patients at a level that will allow them to provide the best medical care. As I continued through my journey with Patient Health Advocates, I realized that there are many complex layers to the practice of medicine that had not even crossed my mind. The fact that the simplest of things such as providing a safe living environment for patients with basic needs would prove to be such a challenge in an underserved area was absolutely astonishing, hence why I find our responsibilities as (as implied in our organization’s name) advocates for patient health so important to general medicine and public health. Yes, physicians are important and are definitely needed to treat populations, but simply taking a reactive measure and curing the symptoms is not enough. Being able to make a difference in a patient’s life by taking the measures necessary to help them find sufficient resources is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a patient health advocate because it is integrative of both medicine and public health.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO LEAD YOUR SPECIFIC PROGRAM?
I chose to assume the position of a health systems liaison because of my interest in expanding PHA and educating myself on the inner workings of the healthcare system. Working with doctors at Med Plaza made me realize that the healthcare system functions like a business; in fact, it is one, and there are many limitations as to what services doctors can provide and what services are available to patients themselves. As a person who would like to implement changes with regards to the mental health aspect and work with a greater underserved population at locations other than those in West LA, it is crucial for me to understand the intricacies of what we, as PHA, can and cannot do. This requires effective communication with physicians such as Dr. Kuo, feedback from volunteers, and discussion with other coordinators. As a liaison, I would have to look at PHA as a whole, not just myself or my committee. This would be a great opportunity for me to not only exercise my previous experiences with communication, but also learn and grow as an individual who wants to know more about the logistical aspect of the healthcare system. I would ultimately like to use my voice to effectively communicate my ideas on refining the services that we provide.
I am cynophobic (afraid of dogs) and I have been a lacto-vegetarian for 13 years.
FUTURE GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS
My primary goal as an aspiring physician is to integrate mental health into medicine. More specifically, I am interested in demonstrating how biological processes, such as neuroendocrinology and immunological systems, have behavioral outcomes. I feel that this is something that most people in society generally fail to see: the biology behind behavior. I am a firm believer that mental health is, in fact, equivalent to physical health, but because it is a “touchy” subject, I understand that communication would be one of my greatest barriers when trying to provide services to patients. Hence, I hope that my journey as a PHA volunteer would provide me with the experiences necessary to understand how to eliminate such barriers that often hinder primary care providers from meeting the needs of their patients.