Maggie Lane didn’t know much about the community health promotion major prior to attending Illinois State University her freshman year, but always had a drive and passion to volunteer and serve others.

The senior community health promotion major says her love for helping others started in high school, where she volunteered at Northwestern Memorial Hospital delivering cards and flowers to patient rooms.

Lane now works at an assisted living facility in Normal as a nurse’s assistant and as a COVID-19 contact tracer in partnership with ISU and McLean County Health Department.

She reached out to the Community Health Care Clinic (CHCC) in September asking about a possible partnership for her Public Health Leadership course, knowing she wanted to do something to provide a positive impact on the lives of patients during the time of a pandemic.

“They quickly agreed and were amazing people to work with,” Lane said. “What really stood out to me was that the clinic, like me, also believes that everyone deserves quality health care without the worry or the barrier of the cost that comes with it.”

CHCC supports medically underserved residents of the McLean County community and links patients with medical professionals who help with prescriptions, annual checkups, blood pressure screenings, dental procedures, and more.

Lane’s project was focused on slowing the spread of COVID-19 at home. She created supply bags filled with cleaning items that clinic patients could use at home to keep families safe. Each bag consisted of supplies like gloves, soap, spray bottles, microfiber rags, and bleach.

“As we all know, many businesses are shut down right now. Finding safe, affordable childcare is harder to come by,” Lane said. “So many patients are stuck at home with family and children, either working from home or out as essential workers. I wanted to ensure that while these patients are spending this time at home or spending their time at work, they have the resources to continue being safe.”

She says that with everything going on in the world today, she would rather see people spending money on necessities like food for themselves and families. Her goal with this project was to find a small way to help relieve individuals of some of the worries that come with living in a pandemic

Lane spent an entire semester planning the supply drive for the clinic to ensure that her project would be able to impact a large enough group of patients and was able to set up a Facebook fundraiser to raise money and create the supply bags. Her fundraiser raised about $730 and impacted the lives of 70 patients at the clinic.

“I loved this experience because I did not only grow as a person but also as a leader,” she said. “I am very thankful for everyone who helped me to take this on.”

She said that in the world of public health and community health promotion, it is important to be adaptable and flexible to changing situations—two skills that she used when working on this project. One of her greatest challenges was working through the pricing aspect of the supply bags, trying to afford supplies that would impact the greatest number of patients at the clinic. She dealt with high-priced, out of stock, or sold out items and had to figure out alternative routes.

“The most rewarding part of doing this was the reactions and statements I received from the patients of the clinic,” Lane said. “After all my hard work, it filled my heart with pure happiness knowing how much the patients appreciated this.”

When she isn’t working at the clinic or studying for courses, Lane works as vice president of the Student Wellness Ambassador Team (SWAT) on campus. The organization’s mission is to promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors in students and faculty. She is also vice president for the Eta Sigma Gamma student organization, which is a health education honorarium for community health education and promotion majors.

Her upcoming semester includes plans to work a remote internship position for the Candor Health Education Center in Hinsdale before graduation in May 2021.

Want to learn more about majors or opportunities within the Department of Health Sciences at Illinois State? Visit the department’s website for more information.