Katerina Fella’s service as a Peace Corps Community Health Volunteer in Upper West Ghana in January of 2018 ignited her passion to pursue a career in nursing and midwifery. As a Community Health Peace Corps Volunteer, her mission was to empower her community to adopt healthier practices that would counter communicable diseases and improve maternal and neonatal outcomes. The community she served in the Upper West region of Ghana had just one maternity clinic with a single local midwife who served the communities within a 30-mile radius. During her first year, she spent countless hours in the local maternity clinic, assisting the midwife and the local nurses.
Working together, they created programs and social support networks like a weekly girls’ empowerment club, a women’s health talk, and a school health education program. In these initiatives, they focused on empowering girls and women to take control of their reproductive health, nutrition, and family planning.
During her Peace Corps service Katerina gained crucial insight into the healthcare barriers faced by underserved populations and learned to take a more holistic approach to their treatment as a result. Working in the local maternity clinic she saw how the health of community members was not only affected by access to quality health care services but outside factors such as education, socioeconomic status, and cultural norms. Collaborating with community health nurses to make a positive impact by reducing health disparities further motivated her decision to pursue nursing. Katerina believes nursing will allow her to develop the advanced medical skills she needs to address health problems in disadvantaged communities, thereby improving access to the highest-quality care.