Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Catholic Charities

As part of my blogging, I also wanted to give some more information about the different organizations I'm working with. I briefly mentioned in my last post that I'm working with Catholic Charities. They have been so wonderful and helpful with my project, especially Sister Cecilia. So many hugs to her.

Catholic Charities provides various services in St. Louis to help people in need. For the Vietnamese community in particular, there is the Vietnamese Health Clinic, and an Elders program. The Vietnamese Health Clinic mainly serves the elderly population, but they also provide services for children, and those related to women's health. The clinic always has the same people working there-a nurse practitioner, Sam, Tuesday afternoons, and Dr. Campbell Wednesday mornings. Sister Cecilia is always there to help with interpretation, and there are sometimes undergrad students to help her as well. Many of the patients like the familiarity. They know exactly who is going to be there, and also don't have to worry about the doctor not being able to understand them. This also helps ease the nervousness in having to see a doctor. Everything they need, whether it is making appointments with a specialist, to calling in for refills, can be done at the clinic. Sam, Dr. Campbell or Sister Cecilia will do it for them. I just think it's really neat to have this resource. Navigating the healthcare system can be very confusing, and much more so for those who don't know how to read or speak English.

I've really enjoyed being at the clinic, and sitting in on the patient visits. My favorite patient was probably from yesterday. The patient was an elderly, super hyper man, who apparently comes in every time with a ridiculous hat. He was such a hoot. He noticed that I was new there, and literally, the first thing he said to me was, "Watch me speak English." He turned to Sam, and just started telling her why he was there. It was awesome. It's definitely interesting to compare the patients here with those who come to the HRC. Many of the patients consider the Vietnamese Health Clinic as their source of primary care, so they come for follow-up and things like that-it's nice to see their patient history. I haven't seen that many physicals, so for me, it's been a little bit more interesting.

The other resource that Catholic Charities provides, is the Elder's program. The elderly Vietnamese get together about twice a month, kind of on a social basis. They have tea and snacks, and there is a speaker who comes in to talk to them about various subjects. I went to one of the meetings on Tuesday to administer my surveys (I got almost 50!!). That day, they had a lady come and talk to them about the new changes/updates to Medicare/Medicaid for 2012. I did not know there was so much to Medicare/Medicaid. There's like different types, and if you are at a certain poverty level, you can have extra assistance in paying the deductible, etc. etc. They've also had doctors come in and explain to them when they should go to the emergency room vs. urgent care vs. waiting to see a doctor. It's pretty awesome to see things like this, and really shows that there is a lot that you can do in your own city to help (not that there is anything wrong with going abroad either!).

Anyway, that's all for now. After two weeks, I've gotten 65 surveys done (woo!). My goal is to get 150 total, so I'm hoping that I'll meet that goal, or get close to it. I've gotten a lot of responses from the elderly population because of working with Catholic Charities, so now I'm looking for places to get a younger patient base. I'm looking into going to restaurants and also clients of the Multicultural Counseling and Research Center (more on them in a later post). I'm also meeting with Dr. Slavin, my mentor, tomorrow, to go over data analysis and stuff, so I'm sure there will be plenty to talk about in my next post.


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