For the media

Empowering his community through connection

By The Health News Team | April 29, 2024
Yousif Qass Younan at Sharp Grossmont Hospital

As a pre-med student, Yousif is driven by a passion for meeting the health care needs of underprivileged communities.

Since 1952, volunteers have been making a difference in the lives of East County residents at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Volunteers do a wide array of things, such as assisting staff on patient floors and in the intensive care unit, helping at the Grossmont Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary's gift shop and Thrift Korral, and raising funds to support hospital programs.

Yousif Qass Younan, age 19, has volunteered at Sharp Grossmont Hospital since 2023. The volunteer program provides Yousif and others an opportunity to gain more experience in the health care industry and to grow and connect with their communities.

Younan’s style of care starts with a comforting presence and lending a listening ear. “I approach my responsibilities with sincerity and dedication, striving to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those I serve,” he says.

Younan’s first year volunteering has been filled with invaluable learning experiences and heartfelt connections, he says. And as he nears the end of his teenage years, he reflects on the profound impact volunteering has on his personal and professional growth.

“As a student at San Diego State University, where I'm pursuing a major in biology and a minor in chemistry, I am continuously inspired by the intersection of academic learning and service within the health care setting,” Younan says.

The importance of culture

Younan moved from Iraq to the U.S. with his family when was 5 years old. This marked the start of a transformative journey filled with challenges and opportunities. “Despite the initial language barriers and cultural adjustments, my upbringing instilled in me a resilience and determination to overcome obstacles,” he says.

A committed and active member of the Arab American Chaldean community, Younan proudly embraces his diverse heritage with pride. He appreciates that his rich background and culture now influence how he navigates volunteering and life. The transition from Iraq to the U.S., he says, has cultivated within him a strong appreciation for the opportunities he’s been given and a deep understanding of the significance of cultural diversity.

Younan particularly recognizes the value of diverse voices and viewpoints in health care. “Through my volunteer efforts, I strive to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities and empower individuals to navigate the complexities of the health care system with confidence,” he says.

Rounding, a practice that involves a medical team visiting patients to assess their well-being, review their status and go over their care plan, is crucial in health care and hospital settings. Younan typically rounds with the Patient Experience team, who have noted that Arabic-speaking patients highly value and appreciate his presence.

Creating connections

For Younan, volunteering goes beyond task completion; it's about forming meaningful connections with patients, their families and other volunteers. Each interaction is an opportunity to embody empathy and compassion and provide comfort and support when it is most needed, he says.

By offering his time, Younan says he gains a comprehensive insight into the hospital's operations, including patient care procedures and administrative tasks. The experience enriches his viewpoint and nurtures a stronger sense of belonging within the health care community.

Younan's career aspirations, he says, stem from his strong desire to help others and to create a meaningful and long-lasting impact on their lives. As a pre-med student, he’s dedicated to a future in the medical field and driven by a passion for meeting the health care needs of underprivileged communities.

According to Younan, he’s honed crucial patient care abilities and gained a deep insight into the health care industry through his volunteer work. “With each interaction, I am reminded of the transformative power of compassionate care and the importance of cultural competency in delivering personalized, patient-centered services,” he says.

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