is the mission of your organization?
A: The primary mission of Yakima
Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) is to provide primary care and other
needed services for farmworkers, the poor, and other underserved in the
areas where we have clinics.
A: We are one of the largest
community/migrant health centers in the nation. Last year we served over
100,000 people in over 320,000 service encounters in two states. Often,
when people think of community/migrant health centers, they think of the
small organizations that maybe they are most familiar with. Since we're
large, we've had the opportunity to think in big ways about things like
workforce development, and strategic partnerships. I think we're effectively
addressing both for the long term benefit of the populations that we serve.
A: Everything. When I first came to the organization in 1989 I was a brand-new public health nurse. I loved the home visiting, and building a new maternal-child home visiting program from the ground up. For the first three years I was the only nurse in the program, but by the 10th year we had over 20 home visitors - outreach workers, nurses, case managers, community health workers - at three sites. It was great to see that progress, to see the growth in families and in the program.
For the past 4-5 years I've been director of planning and development,
an administrative position. My department does the grant writing, needs
assessments, program development and strategic planning for the organization.
Although I don't see clients directly anymore, I'm still very excited
about the work. Its about expanding access and improving quality of services,
helping to ensure the organization is around and vibrant, still meeting
needs, 10-20 years in the future.
A: That they'll continue to grow
and develop. Many of the community-campus partnerships we're involved
with now are related to workforce development. We have our own community-based
HCOP, a pipeline program we call "ConneX: connecting students to
health careers", to grow our own health professionals. We're just
entering our third year, but its been a very exciting opportunity to invest
in the students of our own communities as well as invest in the future
of the organization. We have a number of unique community-campus partnerships
related to that effort with our local community college, a state university
that has all the pre-professional programs, as well as health professions
educations institutions that are interested in recruiting students from
the valley. Its very exciting.
A: Work hard, and go with what you're passionate about. And find good mentors, mentors can be invaluable resources.
A: Being too busy. My experience is that many people who work in community health are just plain too busy - we all have the work of at least three people sitting on our desks, we may have families, we likely volunteer in our community, etc., etc. I spent a good part of my early career honing my organizational skills and learning to be choosy about the opportunities I said "yes" too, but still often felt overwhelmed. Then I discovered that if I wasn't healthy, emotionally and physically, and in my relationships, then I was going to feel overwhelmed no matter what I did. Since I figured that out, and took responsibility for being healthy, I don't feel guilty about doing "too much". Most people who are true community health leaders will always do too much. Its first about being healthy, inside. Then its about balancing all those things, continuing to be happy and excited and committed to what you do, and committed to the people around you.
The other thing too is to take time to take stock - I like to ensure
my efforts aren't just efforts, but are producing results. That's not
just with work, but with volunteer efforts as well. In that way I'm choosy
about where I put my time. I know that often the issues I'm trying to
address are going to take long-term effort. But I need to know that they
are producing results, or else I need to move on to something else.
A: Fund pre-K-12 education adequately, period. Successfully
educating all of our children, and eliminating the gaps in educational
attainment that have persisted in our society, is the basic answer to
just about everything.
A: I first joined CCPH when I joined the founding board. Before that I didn't know much about the organization. I did know about the UCSF Center for the Health Professions, and was pleased to be a part of this organization that was related in some way to that center.
I do tell colleagues that CCPH is an important resource in helping us
understand and implement truly effective community-campus partnerships
for health. They've been an invaluable training resource for us as we've
implemented our health professions pipeline program, and have provided
wonderful professional development opportunities. I've also valued all
the great, committed, really talented people I've met on the board and
the staff through the years.
A: It means genuine, equal partnerships between communities and higher education, for the benefit of both.
A: CCPH gives us a basis to use when talking with higher ed institutions, many of whom are already members. So it's a common reference point in terms of the kind of community-campus partnership we're interested in. This has been very useful in establishing and growing our partnerships related to health workforce development.
A: Leadership, energy, vision; and the experience of having worked in a large community of color, having started and sustained programs that have made a difference.
A: Focusing efforts on those things that are going to make a difference. See being "too busy" above.
A: The needs are so great - and I think that I and others like me who have the skills and vision have an obligation to do what we can.Vickie Ybarra, RN, MPH
Director of Planning and Development
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
708 South 17th Ave.
Yakima, WA 98902
Tel (509) 249-1268