Our Co-Founder Raquel Antunez On Balancing Family, Supporting Students Via Hazel At Home During COVID-19
Raquel Antunez – a Hazel Health co-founder, and our current Vice President of Education – spoke with Ellen Sherberg at Bizwomen to share her experience as a working mom amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing norms of the work world. The lines between personal and professional have become blurry, as many of us are probably familiar with, especially with children, significant others, pets, or other family members at home.
As Antunez describes, finding a balance can be hectic – but it’s definitely possible. “Two months into the national quarantine, my family and I have begun settling into a routine. I’m with my 14-year-old son and my mother who is in her 70s. This makes me a stay-at-home mom, caretaker, and co-founder of a pediatric telehealth company.”
“And now, at Hazel Health, I’m part of a dedicated team that provides healthcare to K-12 students in underserved communities”, she says. Our team has launched Hazel at Home – as Raquel continues on to share:
“Even though Hazel can’t operate within school walls anymore, we’ve been working closely with districts to provide support to families affected by school closures through Hazel at Home, an initiative we mobilized quickly after access to healthcare, especially via schools, became limited for many people during the pandemic.
Schools provide numerous resources like nurturing environments, healthcare programs, lunches, and libraries — and we’re working closely with schools to make extending healthcare access beyond the school walls a reality for thousands of families.
"With our new program, students can connect with a licensed Hazel healthcare professional from home and receive medical expertise, prescriptions, and assess whether they should stay home or seek hospital care. I feel lucky to work with a team that understands this need and remains dedicated to helping students and adjusting to our given circumstances.”
Hazel at Home is our way of providing health services to students remotely while schools remain closed, as well as putting services in place prior to their re-opening. The new program allows those students who attend our partnering schools to connect with licensed Hazel healthcare professionals outside of school walls. We are remaining dedicated to supporting families, especially in underserved communities, to ensure that students can stay healthy and dedicated to their education – especially during COVID-19.
Beyond her work responsibilities, Antunez’s role as a caretaker at home has led her to offer support to both her family and her community. She explains that “listening and having empathy is more important than ever, and I am balancing this with our efforts as we seek solutions for communities who need it most.” Checking in with your children during stressful times like this is important – as she says, “For many kids, this pandemic is a scary time, and they don’t know what the future holds or when they’ll be able to see their friends again or learn in a classroom again.”
At Hazel, we understand that this new reality isn’t something families were prepared to handle – and learning to balance work, family, and self-care can be a struggle. Raquel finishes her thoughts by sharing:
"This time has different implications for all of us. For many who are balancing jobs and childcare at home, it’s been even more of a struggle than usual. And in underserved communities, which often have single parents, this conflict is pronounced. As someone who grew up without significant financial means, I think about this often. We’re here for all families, and now is the time to support each other."