"Being able to help keep people safe and cared for has been very fulfilling," says this community health and wellness major.
The Providence Community Health Center's North Main Street clinic is closed due to COVID-19; however, RIC senior Yesennia Fernandez, an intern at the clinic, is helping to fill the gaps in services.
PCHC is not only a primary health care center but a safety net for people facing major financial, social, cultural and language barriers; people experiencing homelessness and those living in public housing. If needed, a PCHC patient is assigned to a community health care advocate, who checks in on them weekly or monthly to ensure that their basic needs are met.
As an intern, Fernandez would shadow the advocates and learn from them. Now, with all PCHC advocates working from home, Fernandez has a different task – delivering meals to patients who are food insecure or in quarantine because they tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Each box contains 10 meals (a vegetable and a meat) and 10 snacks (milk, cookies and bread).
"Each day, I get a list of patients and their phone numbers," she said. "Some are PCHC clients and some are referrals from other community health centers. I call them and let them know I will be coming by to leave meals at their door."
"Being able to help keep people safe and cared for has been very fulfilling," said the community health and wellness major. "People are always so thankful, so grateful."
Fernandez is hoping to complete a nursing degree at RIC and work in the field of public health.