Cheyenne Medlock

20150331_Cheyenne Medlock 05
Cheyenne Medlock, University of Memphis graduate student and co-founder of Memphis River Warriors

Who I am…

I’m Cheyenne Medlock and I am one of the cofounder of the Memphis River Warriors. I’m also a graduate student.

Memphis River Warriors is a river cleanup organization that was started in 2010.

What led me here…

We’re involved with a larger organization, Living Lands and Waters. Living Lands and Waters came down and they were like, “This is the worst place we’ve ever seen!” Some of us were kind of like, “Hey, like, maybe we should do something before they get back next time.”

I’m a very hands on person, so what can I do here now to make a difference?

How faith plays a role in my work…

Faith is a part of my work in the sense that I believe in people.

I am altruistic and I have ethical motivations and all this, but I don’t feel I’m doing this because I’ll be rewarded later or I’m doing this because God teaches me to go out and serve.

I define healthcare as…

It is all encompassing of the human life. Every sector of the human life. I don’t think healthcare is just annual physicals or getting a flu shot, but I think it’s who are you surrounding yourself with and what kind of food are you eating and what kind of house do you live in and do you feel safe at home.

On health insurance…

I do not have health insurance. I got on TNCare and then once I was 21, I got dropped. I actually was on the Marketplace last year, but I was just a campus worker and so I made too little of money to get help. This year, I looked at it and it’s just completely out of my budget.

The most frustrating thing about the Marketplace was that the Federal Marketplace was like, you are eligible for Medicaid but your state has chosen not to expand the program. It’s crazy to me to think that if I lived 50 miles over in another state, I would be insured.

One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenge is…

People slipping through the cracks. I think that because our state government is not doing what I feel like we need here in Memphis. I think that means that the city has to step up and fill those cracks.

But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…

I think that we have the right motivation and I feel like there are a lot of people in the city that are really dedicated to it and want to make a difference.

The biggest healthcare challenge as a graduate student…

The no-insurance thing is definitely one of them. Yeah, that’s probably the biggest one. I feel like I’ve had to get creative in my healthcare access. It helps that I’m in a field that I’m finding out things like that.

The greatest reward in my healthcare work is…

So with the River Warriors it was very instant gratification. I did this, I’m hot, I’m tired, look at this mountain of trash we just pulled out…

Whereas I feel like public health in general is a much slower beast. But it’s still there. Seeing that you can, like, benefit someone.

Learn more about Memphis River Warriors. Learn more about Living Lands and Waters

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