Nominating Organization: LIG

The Dynamic Duo Join Together To Drive The Health Wagon, Bringing Care to the Uninsured in Rural Appalachia

Teresa Tyson and Paula E.S. Hill are Family Nurse Practitioners, who maintain a clinical practice, called the Health Wagon, which cares for the uninsured in the rural Appalachia Mountains of Virginia. Teresa is the executive director of this inspiring non-profit, and her friend Paula is the clinical director.

The Health Wagon is a free nurse-managed health clinic consisting of two stationary and two mobile clinics. As the administrators of the Health Wagon, Teresa and Paula lead a $1.6 million non-profit that serves some of the nation’s poorest individuals. As Southwest Virginia’s only dedicated safety net clinic, they lead the clinic in promoting the mission of providing quality, affordable, accessible care to all, with an emphasis on serving the underserved.

Their leadership in the healthcare sector has garnered notable recognition with interviews in national media, including: 60 Minutes, Nightline, CBS Nightly News, Inside Edition, Washington Post, and New York Times, along with other extensive media attention, including internationally, regarding their efforts to provide access to health care to the poor and marginalized in the Appalachian region.

Given this national and global media coverage, they are even more inspiring in that their story is being shared with millions!

These two individuals have been lifelong friends and have graduated four times together. They received their Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama, Masters in Science Nursing from University of Kentucky and their Bachelors of Science in Nursing from East Tennessee State University. Both are fellows in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

These amazing women are most proud of their coordination of the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Health Expedition in Wise County for past 18 years, which is the largest health care outreach in United States. In addition, both serve as a preceptor for students at the University of Virginia, East Tennessee State University, Frontier Nursing University, Radford University and many others. They also serve as a guest speaker on topics such as health care access, health care disparities, vulnerable populations, Remote Area Medical (RAM) health expeditions and other issues.

This dream team feels that they are jointly answering a call of God to take care of the poor and marginalized in Appalachian region. They feel that they are fulfilling the mandate that Jesus expressed in Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these my brethren, ye have done it to me.”

May God continue to bless their work! Please join me in congratulating Teresa and Paula on all of their accomplishments and accolades, now including being part of the first group of nurses to receive the annual Nurses With Global Impact award at the United Nations, on International Nurses Day, May 12, 2017.

– Deb