Great Barrington, Mass. – January 22 – Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM Berkshires) announces that it has launched a Women’s Health Initiative, thanks in part to a generous grant from the Massachusetts Medical Society. While VIM has been providing women’s health-centered visits one day a month, it will now offer a weekly Women’s Health Clinic and add three new members to its specialized, dedicated team of practitioners. This will help ensure that its female patients receive specialized gynecologic care and education through yearly health appointments dedicated to their specific needs.
“The Women’s Health Initiative reflects VIM’s focus on ensuring equity of care for all underserved patient populations,” says Ilana Steinhauer, FNP and VIM Executive Director. “Many of our female patients have never had any specialized care and come from cultures that discourage discussion of intimate topics. VIM has a strong track record of building trust with our patients through our multilingual, multi-cultural staff and volunteers. Our experience will serve us well as we continue to build this important health program.”
VIM Berkshires’ female patients live throughout Berkshire County and in towns in nearby NY and CT, and average 45 years of age. To support their families, this population—largely immigrant—often works multiple part-time jobs with few if any benefits, and are most often uninsured. VIM’s Great Barrington-based clinic provides culturally-competent care in patient-appropriate languages.
Through the Women’s Health Initiative, VIM will deliver education about sexual and reproductive health along with access to a range of preventive care services—including Pap smears and mammograms, birth control, hormonal therapy—and quality treatment for issues including menopause symptoms, urinary issues and pelvic floor dysfunction. Joining long-time VIM nurse-midwife and women’s health volunteer Linda Baxter, CNM, are nurse-midwives Julia Rausch, CNM, Carly Detterman, CNM, and Dr. Joan Lister, OBGYN. Sharon True, certified pelvic floor fitness professional, will also provide services.
About Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires
VIM Berkshire’s mission is to provide access to quality health care in a respectful and caring manner for income qualified, uninsured and underinsured adults living in the Berkshires. VIM Berkshires provides free, integrated medical and dental care, behavioral health services, optometry, nutrition counseling, massage and acupuncture and has pioneered Shared Medical Appointments and a Non-Opioid Pain Management Program in Berkshire County.
In 2019, VIM’s volunteer and staff clinicians treated nearly 1,000 individual patients over more than 5,500 visits. Volunteer clinicians provided more than $1.3 million worth of free care. In addition, VIM volunteers provided more than 1,000 free rides for patients to critical medical appointments. VIM made over 400 referrals to address patient needs for housing, personal safety, legal aid and other social determinants of health.
VIM Berkshires, Inc. is designated as a 501(c) (3) public charity under Federal Tax ID# 90-0140004 and is governed by a volunteer board of trustees.