The Good Samaritan Free Clinic at Talbot House Ministries provides one-stop healthcare services to our low-income, uninsured neighbors. But as our community grappled with the effects of COVID-19, the Clinic found itself wondering how it could do more. Where were the most critical areas of need in Lakeland, and how could we reach those affected by unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity in the aftermath of the pandemic?
To answer these questions, the Good Samaritan Free Clinic partnered with Esther Olasoji, MPH Candidate at the University of Florida, to research the needs of our community. Esther mined data from the USDA, Department of Health, the US Census, and more to identify key areas where the need for free healthcare would be greatest. What she found was most remarkable.
Firstly, Esther found a scarcity of low-cost healthcare providers across Lakeland. While a typical Lakelander can hop in a car and drive a few minutes to their preferred clinic, transportation can be a significant barrier to the patients we serve. The distance to a free clinic is, therefore, one of the most important factors to patients.
Much of Esther’s research showed that the Good Samaritan Free Clinic is located directly in the center of the highest area of poverty in Lakeland. Our neighbors are also disproportionately affected by unemployment, low rates of health insurance, and low supermarket access. There is strong evidence that these factors put families at greater risk of physical and mental illness, causing lower life expectancies and other negative outcomes.
What does this mean for us? There is still a large demand for free healthcare in Lakeland, and the Good Samaritan Free Clinic is located in the area of greatest need. Over the next year, the Clinic will be redoubling its efforts to reach out to our neighbors and connect them with free healthcare services.
You can be part of the solution. Refer uninsured friends and family to the Good Samaritan Free Clinic, or call us directly at 863-687-8475 ext. 112 to see if you qualify for services. Email us to receive informational brochures about the Clinic’s services for your church group or organization. If you are interested in volunteering, you can click here to get started.
Thank you for helping us make Lakeland a healthier, stronger community.