Black History Month is more than an annual commemoration. “Black History Month is a story of vibrance and perseverance. It’s about acknowledging and honoring those who paved the way for us. It’s a celebration of Black excellence,” says Helen Ajala, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, PMHNP, BC.
Helen saw that vibrance, perseverance and excellence alive in her father, a World War II veteran who served alongside the British army as a medic. “Watching my late father provide first aid treatment and offering basic care for the underserved population in my rural community inspired me to follow his path,” says Helen, family and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with St. Bernadette Clinic, an outreach of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Helen offers comprehensive whole-person care that addresses the physical, social and psychological needs of the uninsured, underinsured and the homeless population faced
with the burden of illness and challenges in accessing care. The interdisciplinary team at St. Bernadette Clinic strives to provide health promotion strategies that engage and mobilize the community, Helen said. The team also promotes continuity through integration and coordination with other healthcare agencies in the community.
Part of the Our Lady of Lourdes family for more than 21 years, Helen says her service at St. Bernadette Clinic is more than a job. She is often inspired by a quote from famed actor and filmmaker Denzel Washington, “Don’t aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.”
“Knowing that I’m appreciated and that the work I do is producing results that matter to those I am privileged to serve motivates me daily,” she says.