The 2020 summertime season of Farm Fresh RI farmers markets was brought to you with generous support from our marquee sponsor, Integra Community Care Network. Thank you for a nutritious season, Integra!
Evelyn Sanchez has been working as a Nurse Care Manager for the Integra Community Care Network for over a year now. Covering Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket, Evelyn’s team, along with all of Integra that covers the state of Rhode Island, works endlessly to provide patient healthcare in a holistic way. The way we typically view healthcare is through a medical lense, with healthcare providers only addressing physical health. But at Integra, assistance does not stop at a patient’s medical needs. Social needs like rental assistance, connections with food pantries, transportation services, as well as assistance creating medical and mental health appointments are also offered. “The Integra team understands that a patient is not able to take responsibility for their health if they are stressed about their bills or not having food on the table,” Evelyn says.
Evelyn was drawn to the healthcare field when she saw a need for a more diverse healthcare workforce. Beginning her career as a certified nursing assistant working with patients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, Evelyn observed how important the work nurses do is for the most vulnerable populations. Inspired by the nurses she observed, Evelyn became a nurse herself to deliver the same care and patience to those who need it most.
Over the years, Evelyn has worked with many patients. At Integra, she sees a variety of people, all who require a unique approach to assist. One of her most memorable experiences with a patient is from when she was caring for a woman with mobility issues. With the need for an electric scooter, the patient was having troubles entering and exiting her apartment. Evelyn and her team were able to partner with another organization to install a ramp at her patient’s apartment. Today, the patient is able to go grocery shopping and attend her own appointments.
For Evelyn, work is more than getting patients the things they need to improve their life. It’s the gift of giving her patients their independence. Giving the freedom of health and life balance is one of the reasons Evelyn is passionate about her job. “Integra is important because we are the link between primary care doctors, specialists, and social services,” Evelyn explains. “We are a group of highly qualified individuals that work with our members to help them achieve their goals, connecting them to community resources that can improve their quality of life.”
Much like Farm Fresh Rhode Island acts as the central spoke to connect local farmers and local eaters, Integra partners with local organizations to develop programs to improve community health in accessible ways. Evelyn says her team is currently working on a number of programs to ensure Medicard, Medicare, and Commercial members have access to resources that will keep them healthy — a task of great importance, after an historic year for the healthcare field. Her team is also working on special projects to address chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes through preventative health and wellness services. For Evelyn and the whole Integra team, creating initiatives for the Rhode Island community to take back their health and independence is a goal they plan to continue and evolve.