My name is Alana C. Nichols and it is with immense excitement and gratitude that I announce an internship with Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.  I am currently a third year Internal Medicine and Pediatrics resident at University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Additionally, I hold a juris doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta, GA.

I only recent learned of Alabama Appleseed but after researching them, I’m not sure how I have gone this many years having never interacted.  I was immediately drawn to Appleseed’s mission of confronting unjust systems.  As a criminal defense and family law attorney, I spent years navigating these very systems.  It was during this time that I became drawn to the underlying psychosocial and physical health barriers that plagued many of my clients.  

Despite switching careers, I oftentimes found myself at the crossroads of healthcare and the legal system.  As a resident physician for both adults and children, I have seen the impact that one’s environment has on their mental and physical wellbeing.   I have a special interest in caring for vulnerable populations.  And what population is more vulnerable than those currently or previously incarcerated?  

As an advocate, I’ve always wondered how I can effectuate change on a larger scale.  As a resident, I strive to truly meet patients where they are, wherever they are.  As both an attorney and physician, I want some portion of my career to focus on improving healthcare for incarcerated individuals.  Oftentimes, when any patient presents to a hospital, they are in their most vulnerable state and as physicians we are entrusted to care for them.  An incarcerated individual presenting to a healthcare system adds additional complexity that can create barriers to care.  During my time with Alabama Appleseed, I hope to gauge a better understanding of healthcare workers’ understanding when it comes to interacting with incarcerated individuals while also building a policy that helps facilitate optimal care when these individuals present for care.

It is my hope that this is only the beginning of my time with Alabama Appleseed and that together, we are able to play a small part in effectuating change that improves how our healthcare system interacts with incarcerated individuals.

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