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Every day, Ohioans are making extraordinary contributions to the communities where they live, work, and play. Learn more about the impact AmeriCorps members and volunteers have on the communities they serve, stay current on service and volunteerism trends, and be the first to know about upcoming funding opportunities, events, and special initiatives.

Sarah Short
Sarah Short
Sarah Short's Blog
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AmeriCorps Alumni Spotlight: Improving Diversity in Medicine Through AmeriCorps Service


Gavin Wu served the community in Cleveland, Ohio, at Corps for Rural and Urban Successes in Health (CRUSH) in the 2020-2021 AmeriCorps project year. AmeriCorps members at this program establish and deliver a Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) service-learning based curriculum to students whose Ohio urban and rural school districts lack the resources to provide academic and career skill support necessary for students to obtain a sustainable career in the health care industry, a growing Ohio career opportunity. Currently, Wu is a student at The Ohio State College of Medicine.


Q: What was your role as a member? What community issues did you address?

A: As a CRUSH service member, I led efforts in improving diversity in medicine by connecting underrepresented groups to healthcare professions in rural and inner-city schools. I coordinated student-led projects that addressed health disparities in the local community, such as raising mental health awareness in high schools and hosting a panel of medical providers to provide health education. I also served as a community health worker at the Crossroad Health Center where I worked to reduce the high rate of emergency room visits by virtually screening low-income and underinsured patients for social needs and connecting them to community resources.

Q: What was your favorite memory from serving? What did you enjoy most about your experience?

A: My favorite memory from serving is definitely Scholar’s Day! It’s a statewide event held at the end of the school year that showcases all the projects the students have done. Although it was virtual in 2020, it was still an incredible experience to see everyone’s hard work and the many, many different topics that the students presented on. I felt like I was able to explore the neighborhoods throughout Ohio and what the students from each school were really passionate about!

I really enjoyed how we were able to introduce students to the importance of social factors on health. Growing up, I had really bad asthma due to poor housing conditions, and I often had to translate for my parents during doctor’s appointments as they didn’t speak English. I frequently used medications past their expiration dates because we couldn’t afford new prescriptions. These are all barriers in healthcare that are unfortunately common for patients throughout the U.S. The AmeriCorps CRUSH program really focuses on teaching students how social determinants can affect well-being, and most importantly, that they can do something about it through their projects.


Q: How has AmeriCorps service influenced where you are today?

A: Teaching students during my AmeriCorps service year has taught me a lot about myself. It not only inspires me to continue providing opportunities in medicine to marginalized populations, but also drives what kind of physician I want to be. Those we serve know best about barriers to care in their own community as they personally experience these challenges on a daily basis, and I understand the importance in working together to address these specific needs!

Q: Would you recommend joining AmeriCorps to your peers? Why or why not?

A: Yes!! AmeriCorps is one of the best experiences I have ever had. I’ve made lifelong friends with people from all walks of life and share so many fun memories during our year of service. It’s no exaggeration to say that my time in AmeriCorps has given me a very strong purpose, and I’m proud to say that being in AmeriCorps has made me who I am today!

To learn more about the AmeriCorps program and to read more alumni stories, click here.


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