Partner Spotlight: Supporting Women's Health in East Texas

1459878_493414334110421_217365583_nWhen 45-year-old Jennifer Young* found a lump in her right breast, she chose not to go to the doctor because she didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford the visit and tests.

“I literally had given up on life because of my living situation,” the Palestine, Texas resident wrote in a letter.

But when the lump began to hurt, Jennifer knew she couldn’t put it off any longer and remembered the nearby WHC Clinic (formerly known as the Women’s Health Connections Clinic), which provides medical care to people who are uninsured or cannot afford health care because of their circumstances.

During her first visit, she met Dr. Scott Lloyd who helped refer her for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment. After chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, Jennifer is now cancer-free.

For Jennifer and many others like her, the WHC Clinic is one of the few places in the area where it’s possible to access medical care. According to the local paper, The Palestine Herald, the demand for their services is high. When it first opened 15 years ago, people were lined up around the block.

Direct Relief has been supporting the WHC Clinic with medicines and supplies since 2008. The clinic is run completely by volunteers, including the physicians, nurses, and other medical staff.

WHC Clinic buildingClinic executive Shirley Shaddock said one of the programs WHC provides is comprehensive women-centric health care on a sliding-fee scale,  focusing on reducing rates of unintended pregnancy, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and breast and cervical cancers.They also offer medical services to men and children (hence the name change to WHC).

Most of WHC Clinic’s patients are uninsured (95 percent) and the other five percent are adults with Medicaid who cannot find a local physician that accepts new patients with Medicaid. WHC is the only clinic in the surrounding area to help any Texas resident in this situation access care.

They also continue to expand the services available. Shaddock said the clinic is working to launch a dental program to help cover emergency dental work for a low cost.

“It’s like Christmas when we receive packages from Direct Relief,” said Shaddock, adding that patients have told her they would never be able to afford many of the donated medications and supplies.

Direct Relief is honored to support the dedicated staff of clinics like WHC, who are helping people in need in their communities – such as Jennifer – access life-saving health care.

*name has been changed for privacy purposes

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