When I first started my internship here at CCHI, I knew relatively little about the state of health care in California. I had picked up talking points through watching Michael Moore documentaries and the occasional New York Times article, but had never really taken the time to learn the facts. For years, I operated on the assumption that the basic knowledge of health care that I possessed was enough for me to sufficiently understand the different problems facing millions of people across the country. After three months working with CCHI, I realized how wrong I was.
I came to CCHI during a period of massive change and have seen first hand that the healthcare field is a constantly changing and evolving combination of policies, programs, and people. I had no idea how many people and families, just in the state of California, were living without healthcare. Nor did I know how many people were devoting their entire lives to make their path to health care easier. The efforts that these groups and individuals put in to making live better for millions of people, in the end cannot be summed up in a documentary or news article. I do not presume to say that in three months I know all there is to know about health care, however I can say that my experience with CCHI has helped me recognize the complexities and actors involved in the industry.
As I finish my final quarter at UC Davis as a Community and Regional Development student, friends and peers always ask me what exactly my major is, and ask the always dreaded question, “What are you going to do with a degree in Community Development?”. They usually ask this question with a slight hint of sarcasm or pity, as if I have dedicated four years of my life to a made up field of study with no job prospects, money, etc. However after working with the fantastic staff at CCHI and speaking with community leaders working at the local level, I now have answers to my friend’s questions. The individuals I’ve worked with at CCHI, as well as the countless others that I have had the privilege of talking with during my time here, are the living theories and concepts that I have just spent the past four years studying. They are the individuals working on the ground to ensure that real and lasting change actually happens. In essence, they are the physical embodiment of what I have studied, and are examples of community leaders that I hope to one-day become and work amongst.
I want to thank all of the people working at CCHI for welcoming me into their work and lives for the past three months. I can’t wait to see all the great changes you will all create in the future.
– Casey C.