Rachel Kimani is the definition of a global citizen. She has lived on three continents in three major cities, Nairobi, Kenya; London, England; and now Phoenix. You can’t help but think that those life experiences, paired with her degree in Global Studies from Arizona State University, led her on a direct path to us at Mountain Park Health Center.
While Rachel was in school, entering the world of healthcare really wasn’t on her radar. But after an interview with Mountain Park through ASU’s Public Allies AmeriCorps program in 2012, she knew we were a nonprofit with a mission she could get behind.
Rachel spent her AmeriCorps year of service stationed in our Corporate Office working with working with Diversity/Community Affairs and Marketing, learning the ins and outs of many programs at Mountain Park.
“I worked with site councils, helped with the annual summit, Art in Schools, and many other programs that we still have to this day,” Rachel remembers.
In July 2013, at the end of her year of service, an Eligibility Specialist position opened up, and as it turns out, it’s a role in which she would soon flourish. Rachel does everything necessary to help the patients se sees. She says this helpful attitude is just a product of her belief system.
“My faith says if someone is in need, I must help them as much as I can regardless of who they are,” she shared. “I also believe in nonprofit work and that changes are made right at home and right where you are.”
Rachel is known as a change maker, affecting the lives of every patient that walks into her office. It starts with her service-first personality, which the people that work around her see every day. Lina Ali, Somali Case Manager at our Gateway Clinic, has nothing but praise for the work Rachel does for the community. “We are really fortunate to have Rachel. She will often take walk-in patients and do it with a smile, even though her schedule is always very busy.”
Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it. In the first half of 2017, Rachel had more than1,400 appointments, assisting individuals and families in applying for health insurance, including AHCCCS, plans through the Affordable Care Act and SNAP (a nutrition assistance program) benefits. It would be safe to say that over the course of a year, her work impacts many of our patients’ lives. It’s this impact that keeps her going.
“For some people this eligibility appointment really is life or death,” she explained. “If someone doesn’t have health insurance we try to get them set up. At the end of the day it makes seeing the doctor and getting the care that they need something they can afford.”
For Rachel, caring for others is a family thing. Her mom is a registered nurse and her parents own a small caregiving business. She has two younger siblings as well as a niece that she adores. Rachel makes it a priority to see her niece every weekend. “I love watching her learn new things every day. We do a lot of singing and playing together.”
Outside of family and work, Rachel loves to travel. She has been back to Kenya three times now, and lists Washington, DC as a favorite place to visit. She’s a Marvel comic book and superhero fan, and hopes to one day attend San Diego’s Comic-Con. In the meantime, she’ll continue to be a hero to every single patient she serves.