Over the course of the past eight weeks, I had the pleasure of working with the Will-Grundy Medical Clinic in Joliet, Illinois. As one of their summer interns I worked on my own research project as well as smaller tasks that assisted them in their pursuit of heath equity. For my personal project I was tasked with finding a health equity issue that affected the counties the WGMC serves. I chose to research why opioid overdose deaths had disproportionately affected Grundy County. In addition to that I also learned how to use and assisted them with using their electronic medical record system, Athena, helped with planning their building renovations, made a flyer for a Medicaid enrollment event, sat in on webinars and zoom meetings and took notes, and worked with them to create a risk-management plan. I also attended a board meeting, a United Way Meeting, and a township meeting. I was also blessed to be able to shadow the volunteer doctors at their clinics occasionally.
During my time there I know that some of my beliefs surrounding healthcare were either reassessed or made stronger by seeing how underserved communities deal with their health in person. Ideas within health equity such as the social determinants of health and people’s rights and privileges to a healthy life can only be explored so much from the comfort of a college classroom. The nature of the clinic which included serving mainly undocumented and indigent people was able to give me a unique experience which I had not had before. I was also able to experience how empathy drives and inspires people to help those in need.
Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Eric Wetzel, Jill Rogers, the GHI program, and anyone else from Wabash College involved in helping set up and secure this internship for me. I would like to thank the entire staff at the Will-Grundy Medical Clinic, especially the executive director Shawn Marconi for bringing me into the organization and giving me such a unique and valuable experience.