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LHU public health graduate serves in national health corps

PHOTO PROVIDED Laurel Morgan, a 2020 LHU graduate, fills out some paperwork.

LOCK HAVEN — Laurel Morgan graduated from Lock Haven University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in community and public health education.

Following graduation, she became a volunteer with the National Health Corps in Pittsburgh and has served as an older adult coordinator in the Department of Injury Prevention at the Allegheny County Health Department. In her position, she has helped older adults access their COVID-19 vaccine and served at senior high-rise Point of Distribution (PODs) clinics.

“The first COVID-19 POD clinic I served at vaccinated more than 900 patients,” Morgan said. “While that experience was great, the senior high-rise pods are much more personal and I love the opportunities to meet the other volunteers, to practice teamwork and to grow as a leader.”

Morgan said she really feels like she can be herself at the PODs and loves talking with the seniors. “They love to get to know me, and I enjoy hearing about them as well,” she said. “I love connecting with people on an individual basis so hearing their stories is really important to me. More importantly, I love to see the smiles on their faces after they get the vaccine. Many of them say how this vaccine is going to change their future and allow them to see their families again — life changing!”

Morgan also has served with AARP and Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh. She collected names and phone numbers of Allegheny County residents 45 years and older and helped them complete a survey rating their community in which they live as a place for individuals to grow older. The project will assist planners in helping residents become comfortable living independently.

“My biggest lesson from the National Health Corps is that access to healthcare is inequitable and it can take years of teamwork, or ‘a village,’ to point the community in a more positive direction,” Morgan said. “I’ve learned how to become more resilient and patient not only while waiting for change to happen but also with others. While being an older adult coordinator you learn to be patient, kind and to listen to others.”

The goal of the National Health Corps is to develop future health care leaders who are compassionate and help them understand the challenges and rewards of serving vulnerable communities.

Morgan is a native of Harmony, Pa. Following the completion of her Pittsburgh service, she plans to relocate to Atlanta and enter a graduate program in public health.

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