GLIDE Health Services: Esker-D's Field of Dreams

GLIDE Health Services (GHS) provides high quality, comprehensive, culturally competent primary care and wellness services to the medically underserved. GHS patients are predominantly homeless or low income, racially diverse and a population that has great health disparities who would otherwise go without health care. We recently sat down with Esker-D, GHS Mental Health Manager, Nurse practitioner, to get an inside look at what makes GHS so successful and unique.

Esker-D first came to GLIDE in 2003 when she was placed in GHS as a student during her training as a Nurse Practitioner. She was assigned to work here for a year, but stayed on after she fulfilled her year-long requirement. This year, she celebrates her 8th anniversary at GLIDE!
Which Core Value resonates with you most?
I identify most with GLIDE’s Core Value of Radical Inclusivity. I feel that this value goes hand in hand with GHS’s approach to treating patients. Our clinic is open to everyone in need. Also, we try to avoid stigma with our patients—we welcome everyone regardless of their situation, whether they are homeless or mentally ill. We respect our patients and try to imbue them with a sense of dignity. On a more personal level, this was the way I was raised. No one person is better than another and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.
What are your passions?
I am passionate about eliminating stigma around mental health conditions. These conditions are treatable, but people have learned throughout their lives to see mental health conditions as a weakness. I love making people feel comfortable. It’s okay to get treatment, and I want to make people feel like it’s okay. Something innate drives me. I have always had a desire to do something to help people. This is corny, but I think of it as a Field of Dreams kind of thing: if you make it, they will come. Helping people is really rewarding, and often the work I do here helps community members have better lives. Oftentimes, people will come in and say: “This is the first time I’ve left the house in weeks.” They will tell me that they have been looking forward to their appointment because they know someone will be listening to them and helping them.
I wish… there were more clinics like GHS.
I hope… there will be more opportunities for Nurse Practitioners to be utilized in upcoming healthcare reform.
I like… good music, good food, and having fun.