Thursday, August 8, 2013

Community Connections | By Tori Hoffman

Tori Hoffman observes group discussions at the KDHE
statewide chronic disease reduction plan workshop.
As my summer practicum at the Center for Community Support and Research (CCSR) comes to an end, I realize how many contacts I have made with professionals in the community, especially in the healthcare field.

I was fortunate to have the chance to work with Amy Delamaide. She served as my preceptor. My focus this summer was a project on the integration of public health and primary care in Kansas with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Through the state summit in June and several regional listening meetings, I’ve had the opportunity to meet healthcare professionals from different cities across Kansas.
Two women in particular spoke with me about the work they do: a director of a nearby county health department and another woman who is working on an infant mortality project. These connections will be helpful as I finish my undergraduate degree in Health Services Management and Community Development and graduate in August.
I met Lynnette Redington, director of Harvey County Health Department, at the state summit. I was very shy and timid. Lynnette introduced herself and told me a little bit about her role at the health department. She also asked about me and what I was interested in. She was kind, energetic, and helped me feel comfortable. I also saw her at the Wichita Regional Listening meeting where we were able to catch up. Several weeks later I was able to connect with her again and ask her about her health department’s community health assessment. It was always nice to talk with Lynnette.
A few weeks ago I met Christy Schunn, executive director of KIDSNetwork, Inc., at the Wichita Regional Listening meeting. I was in the group where she talked about the project she was working on called Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR). I instantly became interested because after taking a class in epidemiology at Wichita State University last semester I knew that Sedgwick County had an extremely high infant mortality rate, especially among African-American infants. After the meeting I contacted her and asked if we could meet and talk more about her work. We met for coffee and talked for nearly two hours. She informed me about FIMR and how it is a fairly recent project. I found out that there is a community baby shower where pregnant women can get a crib and other essentials needed for raising a baby along with helpful information and education about being a good parent. She also shared information about the proper way to care for babies. I’m glad that there is an organization that recognizes this problem in Sedgwick County and that someone who is passionate about it like Christy is trying to change that statistic.
These women have made an impact on my outlook on the healthcare field and a connection that I’m very happy that I made. I look forward to having a chance to work with them in the future!
Tori Hoffman
Public Health Practicum Student

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