Why I work here: Aunita Erskine, patient business services

November 1, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Aunita Erskine has worked with Michigan Medicine for 40 years.

Michigan Medicine is a world-class destination for patient care, education and research, thanks to its exceptional faculty and staff. Headlines wanted to hear firsthand why employees chose Michigan Medicine to make their contributions to health care.

Employees like Aunita Erskine, who has spent 40 years at Michigan Medicine as part of the patient business services team. Today, she serves as the organization’s coordinator for the state of Michigan’s Children’s Special Health Care Services program. In that role, she helps to identify children and families who are eligible for the program — which offers financial assistance to those who need it the most.

Aunita’s job gives her insight into the emotional — and oftentimes challenging — experience of having a child admitted to the hospital.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen parents start crying with joy when I tell them what sort of financial assistance is available to them,” Aunita said. “The fact that I’m able to alleviate their burden in one small way, it makes this job unique, extraordinary and impactful.”

Several years ago, the organization gave Aunita another opportunity to make an impact — in a way that was even more personal to the long-time employee and nature-lover.

“In my free time, I work as a docent at the U-M Nichols Arboretum,” Aunita said. “My boss knew that about me and when the new Mott hospital was being built, I was asked to participate in a project to create artwork for the new building.

“The organization brought in a nature photographer, whom I was able to escort for a few days throughout the arboretum, showing her the most beautiful — and meaningful — places to take photos. The photographs are now displayed in the elevator lobbies of clinics throughout Mott.”

Aunita said she often stops by to check out the pictures.

“It feels like a piece of me is in that artwork. The organization invested in me and trusted me enough to let me use my love of nature to improve the lives of patients and families,” Aunita said. “I love being part of an organization that values my interests both at work and outside of work. That means more than I could ever imagine.”

Why do you work at Michigan Medicine? Email your story to headlines@med.umich.edu. It could be featured in an upcoming issue of Headlines!