Gigina Walker: Serving the community through health care
Source: Aiken Standard
Published: July 19, 2020
By: CIMS Partner Center: Rural Health Services
Gigina Walker describes herself as a service-minded person, and her job as the chief operating officer at Rural Health Services allows her to take that mindset to work.
The 39-year-old Aiken resident moved to the area in 2000 to attend USC Aiken and has been here pretty much ever since.
Rural Health Services is a private, nonprofit, federally qualified health center that “offers culturally-competent, comprehensive primary, preventative and supplemental health care services to all people, regardless of ability to pay, through its main facility in Aiken and satellite facilities in Clearwater and south Aiken,” according to the center’s website. Rural Health Services was established in 1971.
Walker’s responsibilities at Rural Health Services include supervising staff in the IT department and maintenance facilities, as well as the mobile unit staff and call center.
She supervises projects – like the current installation of a 3D mammography machine at one of the center’s site locations – and facility renovations.
“I spearhead those things and coordinate those efforts,” she said.
Walker has been the chief operating officer for three years but has been with Rural Health Services since 2005.
When she was in graduate school, she interned at Beaufort Jasper Comprehensive Health Services, a health center in the Beaufort area.
“I started with them as a compliance manager and decided that I wanted to stay in that field just because we serve underserved populations, so I wanted to continue that, I guess that legacy,” she said.
“I like to think of myself as a service-minded individual, so to get paid to go to work every day and still maintain that service aspect is rewarding in itself.”
Walker is originally from California. She started at USC Aiken in 2000 for her undergraduate studies where she got a degree in biology. She then headed to USC Columbia for graduate school.
Walker is a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and the Rotary Club in Aiken. She’s also a board member on the Aiken Board of Disabilities.
She said being involved in the community is about being able to give back and influence the area in which she lives.
“I’d like to think that I’m improving the community for the sake of my children. But I’ve also noticed it’s a great way to network, learn new skills and gain expertise in other areas. My involvement has made me more well-rounded. I’ve made many friends getting involved and have met lots of interesting people along the way,” she said.
Of her hobbies, Walker said she enjoys visiting downtown Aiken.
“One of my highlights is eating out and just like the diverse places to shop within the city,” she said.
Walker has two daughters, 7 and 5, and is engaged.