February 21, 2024

February Volunteer Spotlight: Camila Marquez

CommunityHealth shines the Volunteer Spotlight on Camila Marquez during February.

Camila has supported Health Education workshops with CommunityHealth since March of 2023 when classes first came back in person since the pandemic.

Considering diabetes is one the most common conditions treated at CommunityHealth, Camila’s is critical to culturally competent care both inside and outside of clinic doors.

For her compassionate service, Camila was awarded 2023 Education & Outreach Volunteer of the Year for the 2023 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Camila works with the Chicago Urban Medicine Program (UMED) at one of CommunityHealth’s longest partner institutions, University of Illinois at Chicago.

UMED facilitated a five-week workshop series called Take Action! that taught patients how to prevent and live a fulfilling, healthy, positive life with diabetes hosted by our community-based clinic at Enlace.

CommunityHealth applauds Camila for her life-saving and life-changing leadership that empowered a clinical, holistic, and personal approach to metabolic health throughout the classes.

CommunityHealth sat down with Camila to learn more about what Quality Health Care For All means to her…

In a few sentences, tell us more about yourself and your background.

“I grew up in Skokie, IL, and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 6 years before starting medical school at UIC. Prior to volunteering at CommunityHealth, I volunteered as a mentor at Evanston Scholars, a non-profit that helps underserved students get into and graduate college.”

What is your favorite memory from your time with CommunityHealth?

“My favorite memory is playing the Jeopardy game with our patients at the end of the diabetes class series! The patients always surprise themselves by how much they learned and it’s so heartwarming to see how much confidence they’ve gained and how happy they are to have something to show their hard work!”

Why and how did you begin volunteering at CommunityHealth?

“As part of the Urban Medicine program and the University of Illinois College of Medicine, we partner with community sites all throughout Chicago. Knowing the patient population and the success of past diabetes classes made CommunityHealth an easy choice!”

Do you remember your first day? What surprised you?

“Yes! Spanish is my second language, and I remember being nervous about teaching my first diabetes class with our patients. I surprised myself with how much Spanish I actually know and also how kind and helpful our patients are when you forget or stumble on a word.”

What has kept you volunteering all this time?

“The patients! The patients are amazing to work with and are always so willing to listen or ask questions. It’s the relationship building that makes me really enjoy volunteering at CommunityHealth!”

What is something you’ve learned from volunteering at CommunityHealth?

“I really learned a ton about where our patients are from and the struggles they have when it comes to managing their diabetes – it really puts in perspective the life factors that can contribute to disease and health.”

What has been your biggest takeaway from your time with CommunityHealth, and how does this impact your other life or career goals?

“My biggest takeaway was learning how to communicate complex topics into more digestible, easily understood bits for our patients. As a medical student, I’ve always dreamed of working with the Spanish speaking community here in Chicago, and I feel so fortunate to have started early in my career and I hope to continue down this path especially as a future physician!”

Outside of volunteering with CommunityHealth, how do you like to spend your free time?

“I love spending time with my family and taking my dog, Mamba, on long walks! I also spend a good amount of free time at my ceramic studio.”

What’s your favorite book? 

“I am loving the book series ‘Children of Blood and Bone.’ I can’t wait for the 3rd book to come out!”

What’s your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever had?

“A piece of pizza!”

CommunityHealth is More Than A Free Clinic with Health Education workshops for fitness, nutrition, and community hosted by devoted volunteers like Camila.

The future of health is in the next generation of health care providers. CommunityHealth invites you to apply to volunteer and help us expand Quality Health Care For All as we continue to meet our communities where they are at.