Forty-four women benefited from the Center for Healing & Hope’s Spring into Health event on Saturday, March 17.

For a fee of $60, these women received a complete exam that normally would have cost $380. Checks of blood pressure and cholesterol, a breast exam and PAP smear, and screening for diabetes when indicated were included, along with general health education.

A nurse takes a blood sample during the Spring into Health event.

All of the women who participated reported that they did not have insurance and four out of five did not have a primary care physician. Most of the patients were from Goshen and Elkhart, and all but one were Latino.

The event was possible because of strong support from volunteer medical professionals and students. Eight doctors and nurse practitioners conducted the exams. They were assisted by eight nurse practitioner students from Goshen College who got first-hand experience in doing some of the screenings and gathering health histories. Volunteer nurses assisted with medical tests, several volunteer interpreters assisted with communication, and several other volunteers helped with clerical tasks. Three Center for Healing & Hope staff members managed the overall effort. This level of support from volunteers made it possible for seven or eight women to receive complete exams during each hour of the event.

In order to keep the cost affordable to these women, four sponsors gave financial support: MHS Indiana, Fairhaven Obstetrics and Gynecology, Heart City Health, and Goshen Health (The Retreat). In addition, Radio Horizonte and La Raza assisted with promotion, and Sergio’s Café in Elkhart contributed the noon meal for volunteers. Get Fit Get Healthy donated lunch bags that were filled with items and information for the women.

Bryan Mierau, executive director, stated, “The combination of staff preparation, cheerful volunteer assistance and donor support came together in a delightful way to create a unique preventive health experience for each of the women who attended. We are grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors. who are helping to build a stronger and healthier community for all of us.”

The last time a special event for women’s health was held was in 2016, when the event was only a half day; 23 women received exams that year. In 2015, the number who received exams was 25. This year, when the event was expanded to both morning and afternoon, all appointment times were taken and there was a waiting list of more women who will be invited to come for exams during regular clinic sessions.