Project Access Tarrant County – the Intern Experience

by Karla Aguilar, PATC Intern

When I began searching for internship opportunities needed for completion of my public health degree at UTA, I immediately thought of Project Access Tarrant County.

I originally became aware of PATC when my mom received their services a couple of years ago. Through that experience, I knew that PATC assisted patients with access to specialty medical care, but I was not fully aware of everything PATC did until I started interning. I have always had a passion for helping others and I knew that I wanted my intern experience to be at an organization that truly helped the community and upheld their values. I found just that and more at PATC.

My role is to facilitate and maintain patient re-enrollment; I am able to help patients gather the needed documents to meet our requirements. I also interview new patients via Zoom, completing their enrollment process. I have learned many skills that will be useful in any career I choose after my internship, and I am so glad I have had such a great group of women to help me succeed. I did not expect to have such an important role as an intern but PATC has challenged me in the best way possible. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship is following up with patients who have finished their care and hearing about their experiences. There is one patient whose interview I will never forget. This patient was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her mid-twenties. She had been in severe pain for the past few years, and just recently, PATC was able to help her get a life-changing surgery that will allow her to walk again. During her interview, she shared with me all of the hard times she had endured, times that made her want to give up on life. In that moment, I realized just how big of an impact PATC makes on not just individual patients but their entire families. I was so glad we were able to help this patient, but I also felt amazing knowing I am now part of this organization and can continue serving my community.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship is following up with patients who have finished their care and hearing about
their experience.”

Many people are fortunate enough to have access to healthcare, but there are many others who do not have the same opportunity. As a community, it is important that we provide resources to those who are underserved and that we understand their needs. I have been able to experience exactly how PATC is able to do just that not only from an administrative point of view but also from a medical perspective. It takes a village to make it work. From Kathryn, Diana, Angie, and TCMS to the volunteer doctors and their staffs, everyone works together to ensure that they are able to successfully meet our patients’ needs. Hearing patients’ stories about how we have changed their lives and their families is such a heartwarming feeling. There is nothing better than seeing our patients thrive.

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