Sarah Rasmussen-Rehkopf is a Program Coordinator supporting American Indian and Alaska Native students on their journey into healthcare professions. In this edition of “A Day in the Life”, Sarah shares how she’s been able to continue connecting with students from home, how her running’s been going, and how her communities have continued to support each other amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
How has the last month been for you?
This last month has both felt like it’s dragged on for a year and gone by in a flash. It’s been a whirlwind of checking in with family members and moving all work programs to virtual platforms. I’ve been really encouraged by the support and community I’ve seen and that’s helped me stay positive during all this uncertainty.
What’s changed for you at your place of work?
Currently at home working! The majority of the work I do is supporting American Indian and Alaska Native students on their journey into healthcare professions. A lot of the time that means connecting them with opportunities, helping them navigate academia, building career pathways, and helping bridge the gap between western medical perspectives and our different cultural perspectives. Now we’re trying to do all of this virtually while also helping support them through these times and answer the questions they have.
What’s something others might not realize about the work you’re doing right now?
Our American Indian and Alaska Native communities are some of the most vulnerable in this time. These communities already have less access to healthcare and it’s not uncommon for there to be multi-generational families living in the same house. The students we’re working with don’t always have access to wifi or a computer, something many of us take for granted. We’re navigating this as best we can and trying to support the students’ academic goals and mental health.
What differences have you noticed in the ways that your communities are operating? (Whether that’s your place of work, neighborhood, clubs, inner friend circle..)
Our communities have come together (figuratively) to support each other from delivering groceries to elders, checking in with family members in remote places, and donating to Indigenous support organizations. These times are hard, but we’re working together to protect our elders, communities, and culture. Instead of coming together in person to connect, share, celebrate, and learn, we’re finding ways to do what we can while physically distancing from one another. If you haven’t already seen the jingle dress dancing for healing you should look it up! We’re strong, resilient, Indigenous.
Have you had to make any adjustments to your schedule or routine for yourself or other members of your family?
Since I’m still working my routine hasn’t changed too much – I just have more opportunities for lunch runs!
How has running/fitness fit into your life with everything that’s going on?
Running has felt like a gift recently. It’s so nice to be able to go out and run some of the anxiety and cooped-up-at-home energy out! Base building season has begun and even with no races on the calendar it feels good to put in work knowing that there will be a time when all the miles will pay off.