One call can save a life – it’s her mission

Janice Bush

By Dixie Ann Black

      “If you hadn’t talked to me until the police got there, I wouldn’t be alive.”

The man speaking had reached the end of his rope. He had been about to commit suicide. Fortunately, he had answered a call from the AHF line, Janice had kept him talking while she called 911, then she had stayed on the line with him until help arrived. Since her call to him months before there had been so many other people; desperate, depressed, sick, suicidal people that she had talked “off a ledge” mentally or physically, that she didn’t remember him immediately. But knowing that this man was alive because of her phone call, cemented her purpose in working for the Aids Healthcare Foundation.

“Some folks feel no one loves them because they have the virus. You have to follow up, return calls, make them know someone cares.”

Back in 2009 Janice Bush was the first employee in the managed care department of AHF. She was originally assigned to member services. At that time her local AHF had a total of fifty members. Bush became a jack-of-all-trades in the organization. She learned marketing, contracts, sales. You name it, Janice Bush did it. Part of her job was to grow the membership and grow it did. Now AHF has 1500 members with a full complement of staffing. Her promotions have landed her as a Care Coordinator.

Janice’s job is to find out what members need and connect them to services. She provides them with connections to everything from transportation and medical follow up to housing and mental health services. AHF partners with healthcare and other services allowing members to access case management, nursing, social work and a spectrum of services as needed.

“Most medications and services are free but if they are not and a member cannot afford it then AHF helps them with those services.” Janice spends her days making sure folks get their housing needs met, get transportation services, nursing care and more.

Bush recalls working with a gentleman who had cancer. She spoke to him one day, the next day he was gone. He had died.

“So, my thing is to be kind to people, because we never know when it’s the last time.”

“I didn’t know how many people were impacted by HIV until I was employed by the agency. Knowing I’m one of the reasons people are alive changed my perspective on how to work with people.” Bush’s passion come through in her words. She is by her own admission, a “people person”. “If I don’t hear from someone, I reach out.”

When asked how she balances the weight of others needs with her own life, she responds,

“I’m a very spiritual person. I love to meditate. Every day after work I meditate. It gives me peace, new space, a new mindset, like everything has been washed clean.”

Janice is the single mother of four grown children with ten grandchildren. She has a passion for cooking and catering. She enjoys international cuisine and is known for her homemade seasonings, her jerk chicken, oxtails and escovitch dishes. She has been a property manager, a caterer and an Uber driver.

Bush is the kind of person that never seems to say no and never stops moving. She admits to making a good salary at AHF but chooses to work on the weekends at second jobs.

Jennifer King, also of AHF, tells the story of how Janice gave up her shift at a weekend job to help with a Gay Pride rally in South Beach.

“She caught an Uber all the way to South beach and back to volunteer her time. Another time she had a flat tire and still came out to volunteer. She does extraordinary things. She was a one-woman-show for our Medicare Plan for Miami-Dade/Broward residents with HIV. She is always giving back to the organization.”

Bush is totally committed to her organization, “AHF and what they stand for is very important to me.”

Its mission is “to rid the world of AIDS through a network of pharmacies, thrift stores, healthcare contracts and other strategic partnerships. Generating new, innovative ways of treatment, prevention and advocacy has been the hallmark of our success.”

Janice sees herself helping with this mission for a very long time to come.

 

 

About Carma Henry 24585 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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