AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993, VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 40 years. VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more. With passion, commitment, and hard work, VISTA members create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.
The San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium (SFCCC) administers a VISTA program, and places VISTA members in its partner community health clinics, San Francisco Department of Public Health clinics, and other local health care agencies, to improve health outcomes of San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents. Our VISTA member’s promote health and prevent disease among San Francisco's diverse low-income, medically under-served communities, including those who are homeless or marginally housed, and persons of color who are experiencing disproportionate health disparities. Members expand primary and preventive health services and programs; develop and strengthen health information technology systems; and fortify community volunteer recruitment and management, while developing the skills they need to pursue a health profession.
Four of SFCCC’s VISTA Members completed their year of service in April 2011. We are extremely proud of Alissa, Chris, Kelly and Misty, and thankful for the hard work they put in over the last year to improve health outcomes for San Franciscans. Below is a small glimpse into how each member has made an impact at their placement site.
Misty at South East Health Center:
Misty Pegue has been working to expand the Optometry Clinic at South East Health Center since 2009, fulfilling two terms of service as a VISTA with SFCCC. She developed grant applications to help secure funding for additional services, and helped improve and expand the Optometry Clinic, so it is now providing services two days per week instead of one – thus increasing the number of patients who are able to receive these much needed services.
Kelly with CPMC Health Champions Program:
Kelly McKoin developed and implemented nutrition and healthy lifestyle curricula for school-aged children and seniors through California Pacific Medical Center’s Health Champions Program while serving as a VISTA with SFCCC. Kelly has taken the Health Champions Program curriculum from a pilot program to a well developed and succinct program benefiting kids from preschool age to high school. Her enthusiasm and positive, goal-oriented attitude has been a key component to her success in developing the program beyond the “pilot” stage, and her work will continue to benefit the lives of children and youth beyond her year of service.
Alissa at Tom Waddell Health Center:
Alissa Petrites worked with the staff at Tom Waddell Health Center (TWHC) on several quality improvement projects aiming at enhancing the care of specific patient populations. Alissa developed and implemented a project to improve the pneumonia vaccination rates of TWHC patients. Trying out several different project designs, TWHC’s overall pneumovax vaccination rates increased from 46% to 63% at the main clinic and 33% to 58% at their community sites. Alissa’s dedication and hard work not only led to improved rates, but even encouraged one patient, who had not been seen at the clinic for over a year, to become re-involved in care as a result of a pneumovax information letter.
Chris at Ocean Park Health Center:
Chris Chung has left a legacy of positive change in his community through the Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Management Education (HEAL ME) Program. Chris co-developed the HEAL ME curriculum, which he then used to conduct nutritional trainings for medical assistants at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The trainings were a major success, as evidenced by all the patients receiving valuable education and advice from the recently trained medical assistants.
Again, thank you to Alissa, Chris, Kelly and Misty for all of their work and dedication. We wish them best of luck in all their future endeavors.