Tell us a little bit about yourself …
- My name is Anita Okogbue. I’m first generation born in America from two immigrant parents from Nigeria. I am currently in my fourth year at California State University of Long Beach. I’m due to graduate this upcoming August with a Bachelors' in Community Health Education. I’m currently interning at Partners4Wellness for the Prevention and Education Department.
What’s your connection to Orange County?
- Orange County is my next home after Long Beach. I have several family members that live here. So, I spend a great amount of time in this county with them. Although this was my initial connection with Orange County it has expanded as a result of my internship at Partners4Wellness. Through coalition meetings, community events, and conferences I have been blessed to meet and connect with so many people in this county.
Share a little bit about your outlook on life …
- My cousin once told me something that really does embody my outlook on life. “Everyone has a mountain, it might look small in comparison to your mountain but to the person, it’s as big as yours”. I want to remain aware that everyone’s journey is not the same as mine, they may not agree with me, and they may not even look like they are going through something. But, at the end of the day, everyone needs support through that mountain. As a Christian, I want people to know that they are loved and that soon they will overcome whatever is going on.
What’s your favorite book?
- My favorite book is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book literally embodies the journey of a Nigerian woman migrating to America where she is exposed to the different cultures and outlook on life that differs from hers. Another book I have enjoyed greatly is a book by, John Bevere, Drawing Near A Life. This book has helped me build my relationship with God and strengthen my spiritual dimension of health and balance.
What’s your favorite self-care activity?
- My favorite self-care activity is getting a manicure & pedicure done as well as doing my hair. I always feel like a brand new woman when I walk out of the salon. Activities like this help me take a few hours away from the stress in my life and just whine down.
What draws you to community mental health work?
- Mental health is a taboo discussion within my community so I was unaware of the challenges that my community faced. I was initially drawn to mental health when I was studying postpartum depression & anxiety among mothers. After a variety of conversations and observations, I realized that many of my peers are dealing with a type of mental health issue. And this is what draws me into mental health, I want to help my community acknowledge their mental health. By acknowledging their need to maintain their mental health, then we can move forward with getting the treatment needed.
What are you studying in school, and what drew you to that area of focus?
- I’m a Community Health Education major, which means I provide health education to the community. I was drawn to this area of focus because I wanted to build a solid foundation of how to communicate health needs to a variety of communities. Which is essential when dealing with healthcare providers and so forth. Educating patients on how to communicate and ask questions concerning their health will improve their overall confidence and well-being. There are several issues in my opinion that could have potentially been avoided if an individual was properly educated and informed about their disease or an issue they may be predisposed to. These issues are the reason I am so passionate about closing the bridge between underrepresented communities and efficient healthcare.
How do you hope to utilize your academic experience in the future?
- I plan on utilizing my academic experiences to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant. As of right now, I am interested in entering the gynecology field. Mainly because of the health disparity among women of color. Through a vast amount of research and observations I have done during my undergraduate years, I recognize the call for caregivers in this field.
What made you decide to apply to the Partners4Wellness internship?
- I have been jokingly saying that Professor Phil Falcetti promoted his company to recruit his students. Professor Falcetti, also known as the CEO of Partners 4 Wellness (P4W) was my first introduction to the company. During his class, he talked about his company and how certain events in his professional life helped him shape the kind of leader he wanted to be. I found that intriguing and eventually, Tiffany McCafferty who is the program coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drugs at P4W came to one of my classes and gave a presentation about the company and I applied. I was intrigued by the vast amount of departments targeting children and the passion of Tiffany. The rest was history.
Why attend community mental health events, like those hosted by Connect-OC?
- It’s important to attend community mental health events, especially ones hosted by Connect-OC. As one of my professors will say, “You know what you know, You know what you don’t know, and You don’t know what you don’t know.” It’s important to gain as much information about what your community is facing and how to support those facing those issues. The lack of knowledge about something leaves you vulnerable. Through events as such this, people can gain the information needed to provide support to their loved ones and most especially themselves.