Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB) is home to over 320 staff members, across eight different locations, serving 30,000 patients annually. The mission of CHCB is to improve the health of all those who live in the communities we serve, and, as with most things, it is all in the delivery. This series is produced by former CHCB nurse and current Board member Beth Reilly, to chronicle the many different people who make up the fabric of CHCB, and stitch together the variety of paths, passions, and experiences of those who rise to the occasion, each day, to provide outstanding health care for our community.
Anna Lisa Reynolds started working at CHCB over five years ago, initially as a staff nurse before quickly taking on a leadership role as a Nurse Educator. In addition to her work as an Educator, she also helped develop and implement the Be You Clinic to deliver gender-affirming care for patients in the LGBTQ+ community. For the past two years, Anna Lisa has worked at the Safe Harbor Health Center as the Clinical Care Coordinator for the Homeless Healthcare Program (HHP), “a small clinic, with consistent staff, exclusively serving homeless or recently housed patients, providing wrap-around services with a lot of continuity.” Anna Lisa describes removing the stigma associated with homelessness as a key part of her work. “My patients are just regular people, and the staff at Safe Harbor aim to provide them a safe place for medical and behavioral health care.”
One aspect that makes her role unique is her investment into understanding the nuances of this particular population of patients, and finding ways to meet her patients where they are at on a daily basis. Also, one common misconception is that the Safe Harbor location is the only place to provide care to homeless patients, which is untrue. Any eligible patient is able to benefit from the Homeless Healthcare Program from any of the CHCB sites, not just Safe Harbor. The social determinants of health, and in particular in relationship with homelessness, can be identified and managed at all CHCB locations.
Having grown up in Vermont, Anna Lisa still has family here and feels extremely connected to the landscape and values most Vermonter’s share. Outside of work, Anna Lisa loves to adventure locally (biking, skiing, and hiking) and explore the world outside of Vermont as well. Having traveled extensively, she actually spent a ‘gap’ year in Germany the year after she graduated from high school, as well as worked on a farm in Rupert, VT. When she is not working or adventuring, you might find her taking care of her many chickens or tending to her vegetable garden in Winooski.
When asked ‘What keeps you working at CHCB?’ Anna Lisa is quick to answer, “The people. I have great coworkers, who are not only supportive, they are all pieces of a bigger picture that create real differences in our patients’ lives.” Whether it is providing direct medical care and outreach services in the community, or identifying barriers to health and wellness and creating ways to remove those barriers, Anna Lisa is there, alongside her patients, listening, supporting, and providing “a little safe harbor” for all who need it.