It’s National Volunteer Week

During National Volunteer Week, Crossroad salutes the dozens of undergraduate and graduate students who generously volunteer their time with our patients. Through the Crossroad Volunteer Internship Program, student interns experience the profound effects poverty has on health care through working one-on-one with patients.

Interns serve as case managers and help schedule referral appointments at outside offices while considering barriers such as lack of insurance or transportation issues. Interns strive to make health care as simple and accessible as possible for patients. Through invaluable hands-on learning, students become familiar with insurance policies, office procedures, electronic medical records and more.

Students work in a Crossroad clinic and assist physicians, nurses and administrators who share their perspective through mentorship and clinical training. Interns are respected as professional members of the patient care team. As a result, they gain an insider’s understanding of the operations of a community clinic — an experience that helps them determine their specific course for future study.

According to the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, a looming primary care physician shortage has medical schools and hospital systems looking for ways to attract new physicians to the field. The shortage could make it harder for patients, especially those with low income, to see a primary care provider. The Volunteer Internship Program is one way to encourage future health care providers to consider a primary health care practice like Crossroad.