Preparing to Learn From the Experts on Holistic Care


Bridget Nelson

1st Year MPH Epidemiology Candidate

Hey everyone! My name is Bridget Nelson. I’m a first-year MPH student in the Epidemiology program, and I’ll be going to San Antonio, Texas, this May with my Public Health 615 class. We will be working alongside the South Central Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to assess how asthma affects the communities in this area in the hopes of designing educational materials for both community members and community health workers to improve asthma outcomes. 

I have never been to Texas before, and I also don’t have a ton of experience doing this kind of community-based public health work, so this week will be filled with a lot of new things for me. Though this does make me a little nervous, I am mostly excited. I am excited to learn more about the San Antonio community, and I am excited to have the opportunity to put what I have learned in the classroom over the past year into practice, getting to really “do” public health and hopefully make an impact on this community in a positive way. 

In preparing for this trip, our class has learned a lot about the role of community health workers (CHWs) in providing various services to the communities that they serve in order to help them take control of their health. I have been really inspired reading personal accounts from various CHWs, and the goals that they have been able to help people achieve. One of the things I like the most about how CHWs function is that they really take a holistic view of every individual, taking into account all of the structural factors that may affect a person’s ability to take care of their health (such as housing, employment, transportation access, health insurance coverage, the list goes on), and then taking actions to connect them to services that can address all of those barriers. I think it is necessary to approach health from this perspective, but it is an approach rarely taken in the traditional U.S. healthcare system. As an aspiring healthcare professional myself, I really want to take this trip as an opportunity to learn as much as I can about how CHWs provide care in this holistic way, in the hopes of someday being able to incorporate some of those practices into my own work as a healthcare provider.

Anyways, that’s just a little about what I’ve been thinking about leading up to this trip. Now it’s time to prepare myself for the Texas heat, and I can’t wait to share about my experiences with y’all once I return.