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Community Health Worker Spotlight with Kim Artis of Sinai Urban Health Institute

What drew you into the CHW profession?

The position of CHW was an unintentional blessing for me.  I say that because I wasn’t looking to do this type of work however, the universe said otherwise and it has enriched my life.  I witnessed the lack of support, education and trust the community had for our healthcare system and knew there needed to be some healing and understanding. I saw an opportunity to change lives as a community health worker by bridging the gap between the community and the healthcare system and be the face of what healthcare should look like - a friend.

 

What’s your most memorable experience working as a CHW?

My most memorable experiences working as a CHW has been seeing the benefits of providing education to the community, not only witnessing healthy changes in the home, but seeing patients use their medication correctly. One client in particular reminds me of my influence in their health. This particular client was struggling taking her medication correctly. When I asked my client to show me how she used her medication and she did the initial steps correctly.  However, when she pumped the medication, she did that over her shoulder and breathed in the surrounding air.  At that moment I understood why she was still sick and corrected her medication technique. If I had not been there to see her technique, she could have used her medication incorrectly in an emergency situation and possibly not survived.  Knowing that I was able to potentially save a life because of our encounter, it infused my desire even more to be a CHW.

 

What is the biggest challenge in your work and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge in my work has been not being able to help with all the issues I came across in the homes due to lack of resources both externally and internally.  I overcame those by assisting effectively with what I could and not promising an impossible dream.  I educated myself and became a walking “Google” to be the most complete resource I could be.  I was the face of SUHI and I realized when clients let me in, they also let SUHI in. They let me in their life as well and I didn’t want to let them down.