A Frontier Nursing University (FNU) 2019 summer Courier was recently featured in a Wabash Global Health tweet after his presentation detailing his experience in the program. Wabash Global Health is an initiative of Wabash College, located in Crawfordsville, Ind., with the goal of impacting the lives of students and communities through education, investigation and service.
Eric Lakomek is a junior at Wabash where he is studying psychology with minors in chemistry and global health. He is on track to graduate in May 2021 and then plans to attend medical school.
Eric first learned about the Courier program from Wabash alum Matt Hodges, who participated in the program in the summer of 2016 and encouraged Eric to apply. The Courier program is an eight week, rural and public health, service-learning program with a rich and adventuresome history. The program targets college students with an interest in public health, health care or a related field. The sites are often remote, located in culturally-unique communities throughout Appalachia and elsewhere.
“I was interested in learning about rural public health, particularly the opioid epidemic, and I knew in Appalachia I would experience it firsthand,” Eric said.
For the first several weeks of his summer in Hazard, Ky., he visited each medical provider in the Kentucky Mountain Health Alliance, including dental, primary care and behavioral health centers. He chose to focus on the primary care center at the Little Flower Clinic for the remainder of the summer. At the clinic, he shadowed the nurse practitioners and on-site physician; he also traveled with caseworkers during patient home visits and community work.
As part of the Courier program, Eric and his fellow Couriers developed a project based on a community needs assessment of the Hazard community area. They created a comprehensive diabetes care program for local patients, complete with information brochures, menu guidelines and care packs with blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, pedometers and other items not covered by insurance.
Eric’s favorite part about his summer as a Courier was being able to experience the culture and community of Appalachia, and he left with a sense of gratitude. “I realized the privilege I have in my life,” said Eric. “Little Flower is a clinic that primarily serves less fortunate individuals, and I learned that my problems pale in comparison to what these individuals experience on a daily basis.”
“Eric truly shined during his summer as a courier with FNU. In fact, Eric was chosen to present his experience to the Breckinridge Capital Advisors, as well as other prominent members of the FNU board,” said Tara A. Dykes-Barnes, FNU’s Courier Program Coordinator.
The Courier Program was recently featured in The Bridge Magazine, a publication of the Kentucky Office of Rural Health. Read more here!
Enrollment for the 2020 Courier program is now open! The program will run from June 1- August 3, 2020. Find out more about the application process and enrollment requirements at Frontier.edu/Courier-Program.