Posted by Kaite Magoon

I thought it appropriate to simply introduce myself for my first blog entry.  It is my hope that my introduction will offer readers some context for my future entries.

A native of Canton, Ohio, I grew up with abstinence-based sex education.  As a result, I knew many people that I believe suffered because of the lack of information and education, which should have been offered at a critical time period in our lives.  It is mainly this first hand experience that has led me to be an outspoken and fierce defender of reproductive health education and options.

In college and directly after, I was lucky enough to do some work with Planned Parenthood as a volunteer, then as an intern on a grant funded by People for the American Way.  This initial work, ranging from stuffing bags of condoms, to actually providing sexual education for court-mandated classes and at a Juvenile Attention Center (this is what we call them in Ohio instead of Juvenile Detention Centers) offered me with valuable insight into the reproductive health world.

I am now a nurse practitioner at The Door Adolescent Community Center.  The Door is a stand-alone clinic (aka not connected or affiliated with a particular hospital) that provides free healthcare to young people ages 12-21.  Unlike many other “free” clinics, The Door offers all services with no cost at all (in fact, we rarely bill insurance to protect the privacy of our patients).  The clinic is mainly funded by Title X, and therefore largely functions as a family planning clinic.  My days are filled with pregnancy prevention and other reproductive care issues such as STD testing and treatment.  We also offer some primary care services, as well as dental and dermatological services.  The entire clinic is set up to serve the needs of adolescents.  We have an on sight pharmacy and dispense all our own medications, and have open access scheduling which means that we do not schedule most appointments more than two days in advance (perfect for adolescents!).

The health clinic itself is a part of a wider center that offers many other services for young people, including a homelessness/runaway program, GED classes, legal services, among other programs.  It is also an LGBTQ safe space and works hard to be a neutral place, free from gang affiliations, bullying, and violence.

In my personal life, I am a daughter of two parents with chronic illnesses, who are each navigating our complex healthcare system to the best of their ability.  Like many people in this country, I have come to understand first-hand the heartbreaking ways in which our system can, and too often does, fail.

From bedside as a patient’s family member, to bedside as a nurse and nurse practitioner, my personal and professional experiences have led me to Wagner, in search of learning more about how to make our healthcare system more effective, equitable, and healing.

I hope you find my musings somewhat thought-provoking and/or entertaining.  I am still a student (as I hope to be for the rest of my life, in an informal capacity), am figuring out my own views and insights, and reserve the right to be a work in progress.  I do not claim to have any answers to the overwhelming problems facing our healthcare system and welcome pushback on any arguments that I may make. I hope you enjoy!

Katie Magoon is a North Canton, Ohio native who currently works as a nurse practitioner at an adolescent community center in Manhattan.  She is an HPAM student, specializing in policy.