Defining the Difference

Defining the Difference
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Summer of Flint’s frontlines continues with Lindsay Baywol

This blog is the second weekly installment in an exclusive contribution to TheHUB by two college students participating in the annual Diplomat Fellowship for Social Impact. The series examines their impressions, observations and input while serving Flint in various capacities that aim to fulfill the goal of making positive community change. But how much change can even the most talented scholars and fellows make in just a few weeks of summer, and how can change be measured? Lindsay Baywol and Gina Kim share their thoughts.

Defining the Difference

By Lindsay Baywol

Through my fellowship, I’ve learned Diplomat is much more than a pharmacy: the Diplomat Difference is rooted in our dedication to 24/7 patient care.

COMMENTARY By Lindsay Baywol, a Michigan State University student and 2017 Diplomat Fellow

Stationed with the Crim Fitness Foundation as part of the Diplomat Fellowship for Social Impact, I often wonder, “How can I contribute to the Diplomat Difference in a setting so different from that of the typical Diplomat employee?”

While others are providing life-saving medications, I’m helping participants sign up for races and training programs — not exactly life or death.

On the other hand, whether it is “life or death” depends on your perspective.

At the Crim Fitness Foundation, I help with the Flint Community Training Program (FCTP). The program enables Flint residents to participate in the CrimFit Adult Training Program by eliminating obstacles such as cost and the need for transportation.

I know I am helping make a difference and my work is appreciated.

The need for the training program is obvious if you look at the biometric data collected before its start. The average program participant comes into the program with:

  • 36 percent body fat, which the American Council on Exercise defines as obese
  • A waist circumference of around 94 centimeters, well above the recommended 88
  • 140/84 blood pressure, falling into the Stage 1 hypertension category
  • A pulse rate of 119 beats per minute, which makes it difficult for the heart to rest after activity

While participants might not face life-or-death, chronic conditions now, they are at risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and stroke.

This is where the Diplomat Difference comes in.

While working with the Crim, I have focused on ensuring training participants can connect with the Crim and provide feedback. I have weekly contact with FCTP site coordinators and visit multiple training sites each week. I drop off applications and program registration packets. I answer questions and respond promptly. I want to make sure these groups know their voices will be heard and answered so everyone can enjoy the training program.

I’ll be honest: Sometimes when my phone calls are ignored, my emails go unanswered, or my group visits result in little feedback, I wonder whether I am truly making a difference. But then I see glimmers of hope in feedback like: “It was so nice for the Crim to check in on us.” “Thank you so much for your help!” “Would you like to join us for prayer before we start our walk?”

These pleasantries fill me with so much satisfaction, because I know I am helping make a difference and my work is appreciated. If I can increase program satisfaction within training groups, I know I can not only help participants have a more enjoyable experience, but also help them stick with the program, ultimately improving their health and — maybe — saving their lives.

See more of TheHUB’s Frontlines series:

Living in the Moment

Flint is more than Michael Moore

Flint is a resilient city

 

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