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Photo by: Sarah Wilson - Darla Fisher manages the Healthy 100 Women's Mobile Health Coach, making it easier for women to obtain free or inexpensive health screenings to catch diseases early.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 7 years ago

Women's health bus offers preventative care

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Bus offers cheap care
by: Brittni Larson

Florida Hospital is bringing health services on wheels to women with their new mobile health coach, making preventative health care fast and easy.

The Healthy 100 Women’s Mobile Health Coach is a bus that travels to offer women convenient access to health screenings including mammograms, bone mineral density tests, body mass index tests and electrocardiograms.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, only 50 percent of eligible women get their annual mammogram. Darla Fisher, a registered nurse and the manager for the coach, said that many times women don’t get their mammograms because they’re too busy and their health takes a backseat to their families’.

“Women are the ones who schedule everyone else’s appointments in their families; theirs are always the last,” said Sara Channing, media relations coordinator for Florida Hospital.

But with the health coach, women can fit health into their schedules, Fisher said. The bus is available to travel to a women’s place of work, community center, church and even their homes to offer its services. She hopes the availability of the bus will help more women detect and treat cancer earlier and lower the number of stage IV breast cancer diagnoses in Central Florida.

“Nobody wants to get a mammogram, but we all have to do it, and we want to make it as easy and convenient as possible,” Fisher said. “That’s our goal, to get them in here, no excuses.”

The bus is working up to traveling seven days a week, and scheduling an event just takes a phone call to the bus’ coordinator. Getting the bus to come to your location is free, and its health services are covered by most insurance, or women can choose to pay a low fee for their mammogram.

Florida Hospital’s Healthy 100 Women’s Mobile Health Coach will travel for free to your work, neighborhood, church or community center to offer preventative screenings, including mammograms and bone mineral density tests. Call 407-303-4HER or visit healthy100women.org for more information and to schedule a Health Coach stop.

And, organizers can arrange to offer spa services, including massages, pedicures and manicures at their events.

T.C. Gilchrist helped to organize an event at the St. Lawrence Church in Eatonville, where more than 30 women were able to get mammograms for free with fundraising by his Orlando Prince Hall Masonry group and supplementing funds from Florida Hospital. Considering African American women are at the highest risk to die from breast cancer, in Eatonville’s African American community these services incredibly important, he said. Gilchrist lost his own mother to the disease when she was only 43, and he’s passionate about preventing that from happening to other women.

“We can prevent losing mothers and sisters by having mammograms and having knowledge and prevention,” he said. “In the African American community, it’s about education and access.”

One woman who attended called the event a Godsend, Gilchrist said. She knew she needed to have a mammogram for years, but didn’t have insurance and was intimidated by trying to find a doctor and all the questions that come with an appointment. On the health bus, she felt comfortable.

“We want them to feel stress free,” Fisher said.

The bus looks like a luxury spa inside, decorated with cool blues and flower arrangements. There’s no researching where to go, driving to the doctor, going through door after door, or sitting in a waiting room filled with people.

The appointment is completely private and a mammogram takes about 10 minutes. The build-up of fear and stress just isn’t there with the bus, Fischer said. Women walk out proud of themselves, she said, and surprised at how easy it was.

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