2011-2012 NHS VISTA reflects on continuing service and skill development

May 20, 2016

Name: Jamie Bachaus

VISTA service term: 2011-2012  Neighborhood HealthSource

Hometown: Le Sueur, MN

Current location: Vancouver, WA

Education: University of Minnesota, B.S. Nutrition & Biology ‘11

University of Washington, MPH Candidate ‘15

1) What about your VISTA experience influenced where you are today?

My VISTA experience encouraged me to continue serving in Washington Service Corps’ AmeriCorps State program as a Let’s Move! Coordinator at Clark County Public Health. It also pushed me to further develop work skills before pursuing my Masters in Public Health at the University of Washington.

2) What was your most memorable moment as a VISTA?

My most memorable moment as a VISTA would have to be the Gala. It took a tremendous amount of work and effort throughout the semester to fundraise, coordinate volunteers, set the schedule, organize the program, etc. and it turned out to be a great success. At the time, it was hard to step back and recognize all of the skills developed during that time whether it be fundraising, small grant writing, volunteer management, stress management, or simply attention to detail.  Now I can appreciate those lessons learned and apply skills to my current scope of work and looking back, it was a huge success in raising funds for our uninsured patients and a very unique opportunity.

3) Describe your current career endeavors.  Who or what is inspiring your work these days? 

As a Let’s Move! Coordinator at Clark County Public Health, I am inspired by coworkers, our leadership team, family, friends, past experiences and emerging challenges. I think one of the most challenging, yet exciting pieces in community work is planting the seed and its slow, ongoing development. There is no clear end or definite answer; building these norms and behaviors takes time and there is never-ending ambiguity. I think navigating through that, though challenging, is exciting and encourages me to seek further education in Public Health so I can continue this work.

4) What book should everybody read, and why?

The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer because we’re all better off when we’re all better off.

 5) What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about social justice, health equity, food access and cooperation. When we look beyond the surface and allow for transparency and strive to communicate across barriers, great things can happen.

6) Do you have any advice for the current 2012-2013 College Health Corps VISTAs?

We’re all better off when we’re all better off.

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