We're pleased to introduce you to Kristine. She's a strong connector. Through her initiative, she's not only focused on her role as United Way's Health Access Coordinator but also on building community among all the VISTA members who are serving across the city.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a mother of three girls, ages 6, 10 and 19. My time is spent best alongside my family (preferably outdoors), baking, volunteering, and creating art. I'm a literacy tutor teaching individuals with Down syndrome to read. My career interests are in epidemiological research emphasizing in preventable disease, border health, and health disparities. I have a Masters in Public Health where I conducted epidemiological research on bacterial diseases within the El Paso community. My future goals are to complete a certificate in Statistics at the University of Texas at El Paso and continue researching specifically in women's reproductive health.
2. Tell us about the work you'll be leading.
Currently, I have been leading efforts in expanding community health impact by supporting United Way of El Paso County's vision in improving health care access throughout the El Paso community. Such efforts include supporting Enroll El Paso Coalition efforts to increase health insurance enrollment, provide health care access outreach assistance, aiding in the development of health access in the Community Schools, and promote United Way's as a centralized place for information on health access issues.
3. What are your and United Way's end goals for this work?
The ultimate goal for my work includes cultivating a healthier community by advancing efforts to expand access to healthcare.
4. Why is this work so important for our community?
Within El Paso County alone, 37 percent of adults do not have health insurance. With medical costs increasing, individuals without health insurance are less likely to receive medical treatment, routine check-ups, and screenings. The medical costs of treating these individuals can be burdensome to both the individual and the community. Further, barriers exist in making health care more assessable adding to the complex nature of human health. Our current contributions in improving health care access is significant in addressing these issues through community-wide efforts including coalition building, partnerships, and outreach. It is important for United Way and myself to ensure that individuals in our community gain access to health care, minimizing the many challenges in seeking health care.
5. How do you hope to grow as an individual as part of the VISTA program?
This is my sixth month of my assignment, and I feel I have already gained immensely from my service with United Way. My VISTA program has provided me with essential mentoring, skills and experiences that will be vital to future career opportunities. I have learned to form partnerships and build capacity within a valuable and respectable organization. The first half of my service has been such a significant component in my professional development and I look forward to what I will learn in my final months of service.