by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer
From an early age, Ana Garcia, APRN-CNP knew she wanted to give back. First, she became a nurse, then she advanced to be a nurse practitioner.
And for the last several years, she’s been a key provider on Oklahoma City’s south side at Integris Southwest Medical Center.
Garcia and other healthcare providers will be on hand in the coming days for the annual Hispanic Health Fair and Mobile Clinic.
Approx 1,200 participants attended last year’s event with organizers expecting at least that many as nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, advanced practice providers as well as community resource groups volunteer their time.
The 33rd edition of the event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 29 at Metro Technology Center, 1900 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73111.
Services are free to the public. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
Participants will be offered information and resources on health and wellness and free health screenings will be available including cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, vision, and dental screenings along with lung function testing, hearing exams, EKGs, immunizations, and COVID-19 immunizations and testing.
Cancer screenings will also be available by appointment only for skin, oral, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
Fresh produce will also be provided for all attendees. Reservations are required for all cancer screenings. For more information and reservations, please call 405-636-7548 or 405-636-7549.
Carmen Romo serves as the director of Hispanic outreach services for Integris and helps coordinate the vast network of resources to plug participants into the healthcare they need.
“They try to make it as family-friendly as positive with different events and discussions that would be interesting for the entire family,” Garcia said.
As an APRN since 2015, Garcia has participated in the event for multiple years but one story will, in particular, will always stick with her.
It was two years ago when Garcia felt a lump on a patient’s breast. From there, Garcia was able to get a mammogram ordered with follow-up services to OU Health.
“It turned out to be cancer,” Garcia said. “Later, she became my patient and we were able to follow her through her entire care. She survived. I think that was such a cool circular moment. You meet these patients at the health fairs and they get to see a service they probably haven’t had access to in a long time or ever. You explain it to them and they’re generally involved and motivated to be more active in participating in their health.”
Garcia still has that patient to this day.
“I believe it is vital to the community to be able to educate patients and let them know why these preventative visits are so vital to their health,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s daily role is at Integris Southwest Primary Care Clinic on SW 44th and Western Ave.
Monday through Friday she serves in an autonomous practice role with her own patient panel.
“We stay pretty busy all the time, booking out until November for new patients,” said Garcia, who is also the president of the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners.
“I knew this is what I wanted to do since I was a child. I knew I wanted to serve my community, said Garcia, who is fluent in Spanish. “I serve in southwest Oklahoma City … and I practice in an area where I know a lot of my patients are Spanish speaking. That’s intentional because I know my outreach can be a lot greater to a typically underserved population. You would be amazed about what comes through my door that has never been evaluated.”
Garcia will always remember that one patient but she has no idea how many others coming to the clinic may receive lifesaving services.
“We see the positive outcomes on a daily basis, if anyone is available to participate or volunteer please reach out,” she said. “We’re always in need of volunteers so it would be great to have everyone on board.”
For more information about Integris Southwest Medical Center, visit: https://integrisok.com/careers