As a clinic patient access representative at Our Lady of the Angels Family Medicine Clinic, Nicole Powell checks patients in and out, schedules appointments and assists doctors with their schedules. She’s been part of our ministry for a year and a half.
“My career has been most influenced by women, especially busy women of color, mothers who put in the work and sacrificed time and pleasures to go to college and earn degrees to advance their careers,” Powell says.
Her path to working in healthcare started in childhood.
“As a child I would pretend to work at the hospital. It is truly a passion of mine, and I have always cared about the well-being of others,” Powell says. “I love the atmosphere and the smile I see on the patients’ faces when they walk through my area, especially when the appointment was a success concerning their health.”
Black History Month
When reflecting on the contributions of Black Americans, Powell thinks of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a cardiologist who lived 1856-1931 and performed the first successful open-heart surgery.
“To me, Black History Month highlights the accomplishments of African-American heroes who fought, marched and sacrificed their lives,” Powell says. “Those heroes stood up against injustice and oppression for us to have a better way of life and teach our children about our heritage.”
Workplace and Community Diversity
Diversity in the workplace is especially key for our organization providing care for diverse people every day. “All ethnic groups come through our doors on a daily basis,” Powell says. “It makes the patients feel more at ease to see someone who looks like them.”
This year in recognition of Black History Month, our health system is reflecting on The King Center’s 2023 theme to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and life: It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset.
Powell considers education a key part of that work to cultivate beloved community. “We can share knowledge and better educate our community by providing health literacy outside of the hospital and clinics,” she says.
Many factors determine a person’s overall health such as access to transportation, healthy foods and safe living conditions. Screening for and addressing these social determinants of health is standard of care across our health system and part of our focus on health equity.
“Many minorities do not have adequate insurance coverage to consistently take care of their health,” Powell says. “This often prevents them from being treated for diseases that plague the Black community.”
Our DEI Commitment
Our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion supports culturally competent care education for our team members all year long, including during Black History Month each February.