When Theresia became pregnant with her third child, her husband was serving as a consultant and had no insurance. She applied for Medicaid, but with a delay in coverage, she turned to the Boone County Community Clinic’s H.E.R.S. (Health Education, Resources and Services) for Her program.

Instead of having to wait until 32 weeks, her first health care visit was 22 weeks into her pregnancy, with Nurse Practitioner Georgia Steiman, who oversees the program. Georgia quickly assessed that Theresia had done an excellent job of staying healthy, even without medical care. Sadly, the same can’t be said of many who visit the clinic, where they see a great deal of generational poverty.

Dr. Bambi McQuade, the clinic’s CEO, was named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow. She explains that the goal is to change the behavior of the women and break the cycle of generational poverty through this award-winning program, designed for uninsured and economically vulnerable Boone County women aged 14-44. For $80 a year, women receive six extended medical visits with primary/women’s health and behavioral health care providers, a free membership to the YMCA and services like breast cancer education and risk assessment, addiction cessation counseling, nutrition and weight loss management, diabetes management and stress management. These women want to be there for their children, which helps them break the patterns that cause generational poverty.

For many women, even $80 is too much, so the Community Foundation stepped in to help. Through scholarship grants from the Women’s Fund of Boone County, 50 women are able to participate at no cost in the H.E.R.S. for Her program in 2012.

With 313 active members, over 1000 integrative health care visits, eight women quitting smoking and a cumulative weight loss of over 1000 pounds, this relatively new program clearly has the potential to make a huge difference for families across Boone County. We are proud to have played a role in this innovative success story!