Austin Vaccine Clinic Brings Rush Health Equity to Life

A Rush faculty member and retired veteran shares her volunteer experience at the clinic
Tanya Friese with Cassondra Jackson_Feature
Tanya Friese, right, with fellow Rush colleague Cassaundra Jackson, a community health worker

I wanted to share that I was blessed to participate in one of the latest Rush University Medical Center Community Partner Initiatives with Austin Coming Together to assist in vaccinating individuals in the Austin neighborhood. I took the morning shift (What was I thinking with Daylight Saving Time? Apparently I wasn't thinking when I signed up.) But your ADA Task Force, military veteran member was up at what would have been 0330 to prepare and arrive on-site by 5:45.
It was truly a Rush-driven, interprofessional effort to include our supply chain superstars, IT and the provider optimization and efficiency team  on-site support, translation services, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, faculty practice members, students and just about everyone from Rush whose blood also runs green (and you know what I mean as a member of the Rush family). We are the anchor and the cross of our community.
Anecdotal/subjective data that I wanted to share is that during my shift, based on observations I made and interactions I had with participants, we were able to vaccinate approximately 10 to 16 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, 25 to 30 military veterans and numerous individuals with physical disabilities. Many of these individuals and their family members/caregivers expressed their thanks that I worked with them as someone who truly empathized where they were "coming from" and felt that I treated them with respect to promote equity, dignity and education at a level they could related to and understand.

This is fantastic because in addition to where these individuals reside, they face additional challenges as individuals with disabilities in accessing this very important vaccination campaign. We were and are able to both "get the word out" and then treat them and their families members equitably with dignity and respect.

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