May 25, 2022
“I’m a longtime Austin resident so knowing that history and how it ties into health was something I was very shocked to see.”
Socorro Carrasco is the Director of the Family Resources Center at Webb Middle School. A lifelong Austinite, she is a graduate of Texas State University with a degree in business management.
A member of the 2021 cohort of Community Health Champions, Carrasco’s job is to bring resources to her school such as adult education, workshops and resource fairs. She’s also involved in East Austin advocacy groups, such as the St. John’s Neighborhood Association and the Rundberg Neighborhood Association.
Q: What made you want to become a Community Health Champion?
A: The reason I became a health champion is more to help my community out. I do work with the Family Resource Center at St. John’s and I see a lot of our families needing health resources, especially in this area. So I wanted to educate myself to see how much more I could bring to the community and helping families that really need it.
Q: How was the experience of being a Community Health Champion compared to your expectations?
A: My experience, I didn’t expect it to be so insightful. I’m a longtime Austin resident so knowing that history and how it ties into health was something I was very shocked to see. I knew we had inequalities in our system and in our healthcare, especially in Austin, but that detail and history shocked me, how much our community relies on partners like Central Health to bring those resources. There’s a lot of different resources that I, as someone who provides those resources, got more information about those resources, so I appreciated that.
Q: Was there anything interesting or surprising about your experience?
A: Something interesting in my experience was getting to know everybody in the group and how much diversity there was. It was virtual, so it was a little bit harder this year to have those interactions, but we did in the breakout groups. I was surprised and shocked, but in a good way, that we had so much representation in the health champions.
Q: What did you gain personally from your experience?
A: I gained a lot of knowledge and more friends. It was a great experience to be a part of. I didn’t know what to expect going into the program, but the resources that were provided for us and that knowledge was very impactful.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a Community Health Champion?
A: The advice I would give anyone joining is to do it. See for yourself how much knowledge you can gain from this program and how much more resources you can give out to your community. Having this knowledge helps the next person who is going to be part of this program, and it helps the people around you. You’ll gain new friends and new information.
Q: How did being a Community Health Champion influence your work for healthcare equity?
A: Being a Health Champion, it really does influence my work as a champion for the community and giving them resources that I’ve gained. Just this year alone, we’ve had so many obstacles after COVID. Families are in desperate need for that information, so bringing that to the St. John’s area, the Rundberg area has been very impactful for families, especially being in health-challenged neighborhoods, them knowing there’s anything from the Medical Assistance Program to insurance for them, it’s been very impactful for this community. One little bit of knowledge I can give somebody, that can be given to 10 more people, it’s really going to spread a little bit more. So if you’re going to be a part of this program, really think of it as you’re spreading this knowledge to the community that you’re around, and it really is impactful.
We need people who are going to be champions for us and for our community, and represent all of our communities. The diversity of this program has been a great thing for our community.
Community Health Champions is an annual Central Health program that brings together diverse community members from across Travis County to learn about, discuss, and collaborate on our work to improve the health of Central Texas.
Through a five-month workshop series, participants learn about the healthcare system for Travis County residents with low income and how Central Health and its partners come together to address health disparities.
Health Champions are challenged to think outside of their individual realities to become advocates for healthcare access and equity in their own communities.
Enrollment is Now Open Through June 15, 2022. Learn more at communityhealthchampions.net.