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At-Risk 2011

At-risk populations are found in all societies, including our own Utah County community. At-risk populations are groups of individuals that are more vulnerable to infectious diseases, have special needs regarding health care and/or are at a high risk for health disparity.

We visited the following facilities serving at-risk populations

  • Children's Justice Center
  • Dan Peterson School
  • Oakridge School
  • Utah County Jail
  • Utah County Walk-In Volunteer Clinic
  • UVRMC Rehabilitation Unit
  • UVRMC Diabetes Management Clinic
  • Wasatch Mental Health
  • Food and Care Coalition


Student Reflections:

"One [person who] sticks out in my mind was one of the social workers from Wasatch Mental Health. This man has a love and understanding of others that goes way beyond the surface. He doesn't judge, but seeks to understand his clients so that he can best treat their needs, whether it is housing, a place to have food when going through hard times or trying to get back on their feet to make a life for their families. He found and praised the good in everyone he worked with. This helped me want to be a more understanding person, to see people beyond their circumstances and beyond the rough times they find themselves in, and to try to sincerely understand what they are going through and who they are. This also allowed his clients to trust him with their care and open up because they could tell he genuinely cared and wanted to be their friend as well, instead of just another job. I want to apply this to my life, in all aspects." -Jenny

"One clinical day was spent with local mental health workers and their homeless or formerly homeless clients. It was an eye-opening experience to learn of the clients' struggles in everyday life. Their lives were governed by where they could find food and shelter. Many of them lived in their cars. Life for the women was especially scary. I noticed that none of the clients we spoke with that day really looked us in the eyes. I attributed this to their treatment on the streets.... Along with the changes I will make in my personal interactions with others, there are other things I can do to help in the community. Organizations such as the Food and Care Coalition do a lot to help the homeless population. I plan to seek out these organizations such wherever I live and donate my time and means." - Jessica


"My attitude towards the at-risk population of Utah County has changed dramatically. I know that I held many of the prejudices that most of society holds against this at-risk population when I first began this course.... I talked to a man who was arrested for possession of meth, but then found out his father taught him to use it. That really opened my eyes. I have learned it is never good to judge, and if I do, judge them for the good and give them the benefit of the doubt. You never know the circumstances someone is going through or what they have going on in their lives." -Annie

"My first day at the jail, I was honestly scared and was not looking forward to working with this population whom I perceived as evil and violent. However, through talking with the nurses and looking at these patients' histories, I realized that a large majority of the jail population struggles with drug addiction due to traumatic childhood experiences, the bad example set by their parents and the fact that drugs are the only way they know how to cope with their life situation. As I came to understand all of this, I began to develop a Christ-like love for them and in effect was able to provide better care for them. I realized that these people too, although in jail, are still children of God and deserve to be treated with respect and cared for."  -Brinley

"I better realize that as a jail nurse, you are the ONLY access to any health relief--even a Band-Aid or Benadryl. This helps me be more open when an inmate makes a health request or complaint." -Lindsay

"We had the wonderful opportunity of serving lunch to the poor and homeless at the Food and Care Coalition. It was very interesting to see the different types of people who came for lunch. Generally, people have a vision of what a homeless person looks like. The majority of the people we served that day looked just like you and me. If you were to see them on the street, you would never know that they are homeless. This really helped me to realize we should never judge by outward appearances and that often times our stereotypical idea of a homeless person may be quite different than reality. We never know which trials we may be faced with in life which may in fact leave us in the same situation."  -Brandi


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