Agnes was born in Costa Rica but lived in many places as her father’s job transferred him to various countries during her childhood. She moved to the United States as a young adult and almost immediately joined Community Reach of Montgomery County, first as a volunteer, then as staff.
Agnes has worked for over 28 years to help Community Reach serve the most vulnerable in Rockville and Montgomery County. She was instrumental in starting the organization’s Health Care Initiative in 2003, which was the pre-curser to MKHC. MKHC opened under Agnes’ watch as Executive Director of Community Reach. Her understanding of various Latino cultures, and her knowledge of both Rockville and Montgomery County make her a fierce advocate for our constituents.
Some of the comments that have made Agnes the most proud are the many times a new patient will say how impressed they are with MKHC, that it looks like the office of a medical practice that treats those with money and health insurance. She feels an immense sense of pride when MKHC treats someone with a life-threatening condition and, through our health care partners and government, can get the patient the life-saving care s/he needs.
SHEILA LEVIN, M.D.
Dr. Levin had recently retired from her gastroenterology private practice in Rockville when she became a volunteer medical specialist at MKHC in December 2017. She became hooked, began spending more time at MKHC, and began suggesting ideas that had created more efficiency in her practice. When MKHC was looking for a new Medical Director, we asked Dr. Levin if she would consider taking the position. She agreed and has made some amazing and important changes, including working with the MKHC Board to create a new logo and developing a deeper sense of identity for the Clinic. She has brought in additional volunteer specialists, and continues to update clinic procedures.
At MKHC, Dr. Levin says “I have the opportunity to serve a population that is in real need of quality care, and has a host of medical conditions related to their economic status and accessibility to medical professionals. At MKHC, I am part of a team that ensures the health care they need is easily available.”
NANCY HARTMAN, NP
Primary Care Provider
After working as a registered nurse for more than 20 years, Nancy decided she wanted to take on a more in-depth role in determining patient care, beyond assisting physicians and providing the emotional, caring support of a nurse. She went back to school and earned her Nurse Practitioner degree in 2011 so she could do just that. Today, Nancy serves as the main primary care provider for MKHC patients, a role in which she has flourished for almost 5 years.
Talking about her work as the primary care provider for the clinic, Nancy says, “I love people and helping them get through some of the most challenging times in their life. Offering that care to people who don’t have the means to choose how or where they receive attention, and providing the great service they could receive as someone with excellent health insurance makes me feel like I am offering a more even playing field for the ‘have-nots.’”
Front Desk Manager and Specialty Care Referral Coordinator
Deanna has worked in the administration of Montgomery Cares clinics since 2012. She has helped guide patients through the process of enrollment, provided referrals and information to specialists, and worked closely with partners like Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Recently the representative of one of our partners described how much she enjoyed working with Deanna. She knew Deanna’s goal was always to provide the most efficient and quality care to the patients she served. She is knowledgeable, warm, and incredibly adept at finding ways around the red tape that is part of so many of the programs that help those with little means.
When asked why she chose a position at MKHC, Deanna stated, “Growing up in West Virginia, I saw firsthand how difficult it can be to get one’s health needs addressed when you don’t have the funds, the insurance, or the experience to be your own advocate. I like being an advocate for our patients and helping them understand how to work through the system.”
SANDY GALVIN, RN
Sandy has served as MKHC’s nurse since September, 2017. She brings over 40+ years of nursing experience including urgent care, pediatrics, critical care, and family practice. Sandy became a nurse because she enjoys direct patient contact and care. MKHC is the place she wants to be because “Caring for those who have a hard time accessing quality health care makes me feel that I am making an even bigger difference in my community than I did working as a nurse in a standard medical office. And you know we become nurses because we want to care for our community. So I must be making a Huge difference now!”
Patient Eligibility Coordinator and Grant Reporting Assistant
Teresita has worked for Community Reach of Montgomery County for almost 20 years, the last 10 at MKHC. In that time, she has been involved in just about every aspect of MKHC administration: health education, patient flow, electronic medical record management, front desk, and now, eligibility coordination and grant reporting. As one of the first faces patients see, she patiently guides them through the first visit. As about 75% of MKHC patients speak Spanish as their first language, Teresita’s fluency in both Spanish and English make communication much easier and patients feel safe and cared for.
Talking about her work at MKHC, Teresita says “Having watched family and friends struggle with finding quality health care, I make it my priority that patients feel cared for and listened to from the moment they walk through our doors. Guiding patients through the eligibility process allows me to connect with them in a meaningful way and show them I care about their wellbeing.”
Health Education Manager
In 2014, when Esperanza joined MKHC as Health Education Manager, she had over 8 years of experience in health promotion and prevention. Here she coordinates a team of health promoters and volunteers. She also schedules and organizes MKHC health education classes in nutrition, diabetes, and other health conditions.
Esperanza moved to Montgomery County from Colombia where she had worked as a Physician in her country. As is true for many immigrants, the training and degrees she received in her home country were not accepted here. In order to continue in her original profession, she would need to return to school for many years and relearn what she already knows.
Why does Esperanza work for MKHC? She says, “Working at MKHC allows me to do the work I am truly passionate about: empowering the disadvantaged. Knowledge is power and being able to teach and empower the patients is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.”
In November, 2018, Magda joined MKHC as a medical assistant. Her gentle touch and fluent Spanish makes the pinch of the needle drawing blood more comfortable for our patients. Originally from Chile, Magda understands the cultural differences encountered by people who are new to the U.S. She is able to help explain what is about to happen so those differences are not as scary.
At MKHC, Magda says “I am able to help patients who come from a background similar to mine. Most people seeking medical care because something doesn’t feel right are anxious. When you do not have insurance or money to pay for care, and in addition you come from a community where families take care of each other, and almost everyone is family, coming to a new place is really scary. I try to make that connection so our patients don’t feel like everyone is a stranger.”
A volunteer herself, Andy chose to serve as our Volunteer Supervisor on the one weekday she does not work at her paid position in public health. She is one of our longest continually serving volunteers, and is considered an integral part of our staff. Anyone who wants to volunteer at MKHC, and any volunteer needs MKHC has are directed to Andy. She talks with both staff and potential volunteers to make sure anyone who is on boarded fills an MKHC need and also is fulfilling their reason for giving their time. Andy became aware of Community Reach through her faith community and the work we do together in December Holiday Giving.
Why does Andy spend her day off at MKHC? She says working here “keeps me in closer contact and provides a better understanding of who is directly affected by the work I do in public health. Making a good connection between volunteer and Clinic need provides an immediate sense of accomplishment and a result that can be seen very quickly.”