The community health center
programs’ target population includes individuals who don’t have access to health care. These
folks are usually in medically underserved areas which may be rural or remote areas and
even people who live in urban areas who just don’t have insurance or the ability to pay
for their healthcare. Many of the people we see, in fact, almost sixty percent of the
patients we see in health centers, are women. One of my inspirations for going into public
health and seeking that as a career was a lot of the things I saw growing up in Tennessee.
I saw the impact that poor care, poor health care had on communities; I saw the impact
of poor communities, and I saw that that was a place where I felt that I could make a difference.
I had a lot of family members who didn’t have access to health care and I saw the toll that
it took on my family, and having to be that caregiver, and having to ensure that they
got some of those home remedies that my grandmother told me about. Sometimes they worked and sometimes
they didn’t. And so growing up, I decided that one of the things I wanted to focus on was
public health; didn’t know it was public health at the time, I just wanted to help take care
of people. One of the joys of my job is that I get to
go out and do site visits. I get to visit our community health centers from the east coast
all the way out to the pacific, and one of the things that is heartwarming for me is
seeing women in all of the different spectrums of public health: from the chief executive
officer to being a provider to being a board member to being a front desk worker. And certainly,
working with the patients and the board members. I enjoy seeing women and how we take care
of each other, we take care of ourselves. We just seem to bring a different spirit to
the work; we’re all about business but we also take time to care.
And most importantly, I’ve seen women teaching each other that you can’t pour from an empty
cup. We need to take time to refill our cups so that we’re able to give that care to others
and to take care of ourselves at the same time.
HRSA delivers for women’s health by ensuring that we have systems in place to support them
wherever they are across the lifespan regardless of their socioeconomic status, regardless
of their ethnicity. HRSA provides programs that care about women and help them care about
themselves and their families.