As I watched Erendida Gonzalez have a tooth filled recently at the Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada clinic near downtown, I thought about Dr. Florence Jameson, the woman who did so much to make the free dental care happen.
Her story will never grow old.
While she was growing up in Southern California in the 1960s, her father went to prison, leaving his five children and wife to fend for themselves in a low-income area. Though her family didn’t have the money to pay for medical care, a local physician provided it for free.
“You dream of giving back after that,” Jameson told me five years ago as we stood inside the first Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada clinic near Tropicana Avenue and Pecos Road.
The only child in her family to graduate from high school — a brother died of a heroin overdose — Jameson worked her way through college and medical school in Los Angeles. There, she saw the importance of free volunteer clinics.
“It became very important to me that a lack of health care (not) hold people back.”
When we spoke in 2012, that first Volunteers in Medicine clinic — the product of years of fundraising and collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, foundations, diagnostic firms and a variety of medical training schools — was the medical home of 2,200 patients. It was providing 6,000 free patient visits annually just two years after its 2010 opening.
Read Rest at