Student Director of Public Relations
Hometown: Auckland, New ZealandRead the full interview
2012-2013 Fellow Jay Dalton '12 will end his Fellowship in June 2013.
My experience at Casa de Salud in St. Louis has been truly eye opening. The biggest part of my work here has centered around increasing access to healthcare for our patients, who are predominantly Hispanic/Latino immigrants. Our patients often face very large barriers to their care that stem from a wide variety of factors. For instance, interpretation services and translated written material are often absent even when requested beforehand. Last week, for example, a patient of mine had to wait at the hospital while I arranged interpretation services for them on site. Similarly, patients almost always receive appointment reminders or exam results from services outside of Casa de Salud that are completely in English and thus unintelligible to the vast majority of our patients. I encounter moments like this often in which without the presence of workers from Casa de Salud, our patients would face very large challenges in terms of accessing healthcare.
It would be an understatement to say that Casa is contributing to the greater good of the St. Louis Hispanic/Latino community and to the St. Louis community in general. Without Casa's resources, the barriers to care are very difficult to overcome and I am proud to be helping in whatever way I can. That being said, one of the aspects of Casa that I am most proud to be a part of is its insistence on social change alongside social service. There are a multitude of practices in Casa that are aimed both at Casa's own sustainability (independent of assistance from independent donors) and to the betterment of the community at large, rather than simply acting as a charity organization. Casa is truly a vehicle for social change. For instance, the navigation program of which I am a part aims constantly to allow the patients to facilitate their own care and to give them the tools and education to impart to others in the community the ability to receive equal access to care.
I learn new things at Casa every day and so the next few months look to be especially exciting as I feel that I have finally hit my stride within the organization. We will be wrapping up a major part of Salud de Nuestra Poblacion, which is the public health project being spearheaded by Casa. I have learned an enormous amount of information regarding sensitivity to patient issues, cultural openness, means of checking for understanding and compliance that take into account the uneven power dynamic between patients and doctors, and also a great deal of medical information that I am excited to apply to my future goals as a physician.
Last Updated: 2/25/13