Out of the Mouths of Babes: A Student Perspective

March 28, 2014

Our most recent update of Student Perspective comes from Zach.  He is a pharmacy student from Ohio Northern University, finishing up his final year of schooling.  Zach had some ulterior motives for joining us here at Health Partners for the month of March, but, in the end, he took home a culture of caring like so many students before him.  That end result never gets old.  Zach shares below:

When I learned that Health Partners Free Clinic became a rotation site for Ohio Northern University, I was one of the first to sign-up. Although, to be honest, my motivations were not entirely pharmacy motivated. The previous year I had been introduced to Justin through his CrossFit gym, Practice CrossFit, in Troy, Ohio. I was new to CrossFit and stopped in from time to time. This lead me to volunteer a few times during the Thursday night open clinic.

I was more excited to get to spend March with Justin at HPFC because March is the CrossFit Open and we would surely talk about food and working out all month long. While my original intentions for choosing this site were not entirely pharmacy, the learning experience I had at HPFC has been anything but pharmacy. Yes I did learn clinical skills this month and yes I was able to talk to patients about their medications, but my learning experience was so much more.

Growing up, I always had adequate health care and insurance. Numerous trips to the hospital for tubes in my ears and various doctors visits, there was never any cost concern. While we were definitely not wealthy, health care and health insurance was not something to be concerned with. I did not entirely understand the patient population that was un-insured. People who worked received insurance through their company and anyone who did not work would be covered through Medicaid.

I am quite embarrassed by my ignorance. March did not become an important month for CrossFit, March was an important month for health insurance. Conversation quickly turned away from CrossFit and towards the state of health care in the country. I have heard the stories of signing up for insurance through the market places, but that’s it, they were just stories. Having the opportunity to discuss and learn from the patients at HPFC has given me an entirely different perspective on health care in the United States. Hearing from a family who said they were only going to buy insurance for their 3 daughters because they couldn’t afford to pay for all 5 of them, broke my heart. The affordable care act was designed to specifically meet the needs of this patient population, but it didn’t. It only made it worse.

I came into this rotation thinking it would mostly be spent talking about CrossFit and some pharmacy, but it turned into something much more. I have a new appreciation for clinics and those that serve the un-insured. I never understood how someone could be un-insured, but now I see that every day in the lives of a handful of people from Miami County, Ohio. I cannot imagine those in other parts of the country. It frustrates me that a lot of people work very hard during the day yet still do not have access to appropriate health coverage, even with the addition of the affordable care act. I hope to continue volunteering at HPFC and other clinics.