Most of you reading this have always been able to access a physician when you don’t feel well. Unfortunately, many in our community can’t afford to see a doctor or pay for prescriptions. That remains true even under the Affordable Care Act.
Over the years, it’s been my privilege to serve on the board of Volunteers in Medicine. VIM offers a much needed safety net for those who can’t access or afford care. Sister Monica Heeran founded VIM in 2001 to provide free healthcare services to uninsured working adults. Today it serves more than 1,700 people per year.
Physicians and other health care professionals donate their services. Community donors support clinic operations and infrastructure through contributions. Even patients donate more than $25,000 each year.
Now, my service on the board has come to an end. The conclusion of board tenure is always a bittersweet time. Bitter because I will no longer be as directly involved, and sweet because of what’s been accomplished and what will be accomplished in the future. Sweet also because I’ve been able to be involved with such a genuinely caring, devoted organization.
Volunteers in Medicine joins other nonprofits that are now an integral part of my being as a result of advisory engagement coming to an end – The Nature Conservancy, Laurel Hill Center, SOLVE, Eugene Chamber, SMART, Rotary, Chalkboard Project, and Oregon Research Institute.
I’m always sad when it’s time to stop being a board member. Yet I’ve found that staying in touch provides a different experience; one where you can watch the organization grow and develop. You can be a supporter, a cheerleader, and advocate. I’m always ready to help when asked.