This year’s class of HealthCorps Navigators gathered recently at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to meet two Fellows from the Kraft Center for Community Health, Genevieve Daftary, MD and Joseph Joyner, MD. The meeting was the first in a series of conversations between aspiring leaders in health care and those who have already attained leadership positions in community health.

As part of an organizational commitment to workforce development, Partners is providing opportunities for young people to connect with Kraft Center physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners who can offer lessons from their own journeys to those just starting their health care careers.  These kinds of conversations can have a powerful impact on an individual, particularly when it involves a mentor and mentee.

one of the HealthCorps Navigators attending the meetingDaftary and Joyner shared insights into their own professional development. The HealthCorps Navigators are part of the larger AmeriCorps Program and have committed to a year of service to aid in the development and implementation of programs focused on promoting health education, patient access, physical fitness, and healthy eating active living practices. Like the Navigators, both Daftary and Joyner are committed to community health and work at health centers in the greater Boston area. Daftary provides pediatric services at the Codman Square Health Center and Joyner is a primary care physician at MGH Chelsea Community Health Center.

The Navigators eagerly expressed their interest in community health and the paths of the two doctors. They came prepared with a variety of questions which ranged from topics such as educational experiences, the changing health care landscape, to what inspires the doctors on a regular basis. The candid and genuine responses from both doctors allowed the young people to get a glimpse of the day to day lives of community health care clinicians will surely prove beneficial in their own journeys into health care.

Daftary and Joyner were also quite enthusiastic about the Navigators’ experiences during their year of service.

“So often health centers are short staffed, but it is people like you that generously volunteer that makes my job easier, said Dr. Daftary. Having a network of support within the health center is essential for me to do my job well as a physician.”Dr. Daftary speaking with the HealthCorps Navigators

Like Daftary, Joyner also spoke of the value the Navigators add to the life of the health center. Dr. Joyner also pointed out the ways in which the experience would serve the Navigators in the long term.
“I am so impressed by your level of knowledge around community health,” said Joyner. “The exposure you are getting to the health care field now will help you shape your vision for the future and make the decision-making process smoother, which is great. I wish I had as much knowledge as you do when I was looking into medical school.”

The need for a strong and informed health care workforce only continues to grow; by 2018, total employment in health care is projected to be 19.8 million. Partners is committed to workforce development and to connecting individuals throughout our health care system who  share in the effort to provide the best and most appropriate care for all.