Sara Patton receives a test from second-year medical student Luke Brennan at the annual See, Test and Treat event.
“I want to make sure I’m safe.”
Sara Patton arrived at Gennesaret Free Clinic in Indianapolis the morning of June 14 ready to take charge of her health. A previous patient of the clinic, she came to the See, Test and Treat event that day to receive free women’s health screenings.
“I’m a waitress. I don’t have great health insurance, and COVID hit me hard financially,” Patton said. “I got the full doctor experience here for no cost.”
Medical providers from IU, including OB-GYNs, nurses, and genetic counselors volunteered to provide care at the event. Residents and medical students were on hand to help, as well.
“Many of the patients we saw are medically underserved people who often face barriers to health care, such as language, cultural, financial or transportation,” said Gail Vance, MD, Sutphin Professor of Cancer Genetics at IU School of Medicine Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics. “This event allowed us to help bridge that gap for many women and provide them with potentially life-saving care that might otherwise be difficult for them to receive.”
Vance said this year’s event was particularly important because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionally impacted at-risk communities. Because of the virus, many women have been unable to receive cancer screenings.
“During the height of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported rates for cervical cancer screening dropped by nearly 80 percent in parts of the country,” Vance said. “We hope these free screenings with same-day results helped address this issue for women in need of it here in Indianapolis.”
Janelle Johnson arrived at the clinic for basic health screenings the day of the event. The 21-year-old Indianapolis native was happy to not only receive cancer screening, but have discussions with providers about how to be proactive in staying healthy.
“It was a great visit. Everyone was really friendly and helpful,” Johnson said. “I love to learn, and this was a great opportunity to learn more about my health.”
Patton agrees the experience was impactful, and hopes to attend future See, Test and Treat events to continue taking charge of her health.
“It was a great experience. I definitely hope to come to more of these events,” Patton said.
Other sponsors of the event included Ascension St. Vincent, Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust, DCL Pathology, Indiana State Department of Health and Westminster Neighborhood Services.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
As a communications coordinator with the Office of Strategic Communications, Christina develops and implements strategic communications plans and projects for internal and external audiences. Before joining IU School of Medicine, Christina worked as an a...