March 11, 2023 — Joy Fletcher-Chairs’ office looked like a daycare center one recent Friday. Six kids under the age of 11 were waiting to see the nurse practitioner, all in need of vaccinations.
Three and a half hours and 11 total shots later, all had completed their annual well visits. Fletcher-Chairs taught their mom how to do a self-exam for breast cancer. Four of the kids, who had missed school over required vaccines, were now cleared to return. And the youngest two were now up to date with their childhood inoculations.
That day, Fletcher-Chairs’ office was the West Bank home of a 28-year-old single mom in New Orleans. The mother, who hadn’t been to a doctor herself since giving birth three years prior, had no transportation to cart the kids to the doctor’s office. Without that visit, she’s not sure how long it would have been before they could all see someone. When it was over, the mom asked if she could give Fletcher-Chairs a hug.
“I don’t know when they would have made an appointment to get there,” said Fletcher-Chairs, 47. “What doctor can take all 7? How many trips can they make back and forth?”