by Robbie Owens | CBS 11
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to its knees in the spring of 2020– shuttering businesses and schools– Kaci Anderson felt deep sympathy for the upperclassmen robbed of proms, traditional graduations, and senior traditions.READ MORE: Cartoon Face Apps May Have Some Drawbacks When It Comes To Privacy
“I thought after spring break, honestly, it would be cleared up,” shares Anderson, a graduating senior and student council president at Dallas ISD’s IDEA school: Innovation Design Entrepreneurship Academy.
She also thought that for sure, her senior year would somehow be normal.
“You were slowly seeing the world start to change,” she recalls, “and it was starting to dawn on me that it was more serious than I expected it to be.”
That awakening only grew following an internship at PCCI, a nonprofit associated with the Parkland Health System that has spent the past year tracking Covid-19 cases in Dallas county, the risk, and the disproportionate impact on communities of color.
“I learned that there has to be a change, and we have to continue innovating the health care industry,” says Anderson.
She shared those concerns in an article posted for an online blog, writing in part about the lack of diversity in the healthcare industry.
“Honestly, just the demographics are insane,” says Anderson. “Less than 7% of nurse practitioners are people of color! After I got deeper into it, it just opened my eyes that I have to continue doing what I’m doing.”READ MORE: 7,400 Dallas ISD Non-Teaching Employees Calling For $15 Per Hour Wage
Anderson, a native of Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood, says the pandemic has cemented her resolve to help make healthcare more reflective of her community.
Comfort and familiarity, she argues, can be a critical bridge to accessing care.
“Someone who looks like them, treating them changes the entire experience of going to the doctor.”
Anderson plans to attend Regis University in Denver in the fall, having been accepted into their accelerated nursing program.
“I’m doing this all for my grandmother,” says Anderson, who received acceptances into 11 colleges and scholarship offers worth nearly $500,000. “She passed away in October. She’s the one who drove me and motivated me.”
She would also, she admits, be proud.
“She was my number one supporter. She always knew that I could do it, so I’m doing it for her.”MORE NEWS: State Democrats At US Capitol Discussing Ways To Stop Texas Elections Bill: 'We Need Their Help Now'
For now, because compassion is always in demand.