Intern Introduction – Meghan Watkins
I am in a time of transition. I decided after spending much of my life believing I wanted to go into clinical care, shifting my focus to population health. I entered undergrad determined to complete a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (PT). I spent countless hours shadowing and over two years of working in respite care, after applying (through two rounds) to PT schools across the country I had finally got in and reached my dream, or so I thought.
During my time shadowing and working in respite care I came up against many scenarios to lead me to believe there was a gap in patient care. While working closely with a family advocating for their son’s rights in both school and health care as a respite caregiver, along with countless hours of shadowing I began to notice a major gap in patient/provider communication. My eyes were opened to a world behind the scenes of health care that is in desperate need of champions. I witnessed countless patients leaving the hospital unaware of resources available to them, as providers felt it was not their duty to go the extra step to provide their patients information on these resources. Other patients would leave without receiving any treatment because of the high cost and the difficulty of navigating the complex healthcare system. While medical providers have a wealth of knowledge in curative practices I noticed the lack of training in patient education, communication, and preventative measures. Through these experiences working in respite care and shadowing, I learned more about patient advocacy, health communication, and educational programming from various mentors. These experiences coupled with my involvement in campus health education and program development in undergrad lead my to know deep down I did not want to work in clinical care.
After deciding I no longer wanted to pursue a career in PT, I began working in non-profit development. I spent more time on personal reflection and growth, as I was steered down a new path. I found a way to combine my passion for helping others with my positive and hard working attitude in the world of Public Health. Becoming more aware that I wanted to have a societal impact on health I became intrigued in the differences between clinical health care and public health. A professor recently explained the difference so perfectly to me in a short story:
A doctor an a public health professional are walking in a forest. They come across a waterfall and pause to take in its magnitude and strength. All of a sudden they see someone come plunging over the top of the waterfall into the rocks below. The doctor immediately jumps to action and says “I’m going to go see if they are alive or need help”, the public health professional says “great you do that, I am going to go to the top and make sure no one else is in danger of going over”.
I am now halfway through a Masters in Public Health at University of Michigan, and feel myself learning and changing every day. Finding a specialization in health communication has opened my eyes to countless possibilities in health care advancement and education. While I may not know exactly where I want my career to take me, I know my passions lie in bridging the health literacy gap and improving health outcomes for all. I joined LiquidGoldConcept to challenge myself to branch out to a new area of health I had not had the opportunity to work with before while also working within a company passionate about making a change in people’s lives across the world. I hope to advance my skills in various areas of patient centered care to further my experience in patient advocacy and provider education. I know this will be a great experience of learning and self-improvement and I am looking forward to the road ahead of me.