Philippine Cultural and Civic Center Foundation
Free Medical Clinic
Violeta Singson, M.D., believes that if you want a thing done well, you should do it yourself. Do it she does, as medical director of a free clinic for the uninsured and underinsured, held two Saturdays a month in the offices where she has her regular pediatric practice.
The petite 67-year-old breast cancer survivor's eyes sparkle when she does double duty as an admitting clerk. "Standing in front of the registration desk gives me the chance to interact personally with all the patients who sign in. I find it very satisfying when I can greet them by their full names and later see their glow of joy as they bid good-bye with their bags of free medicines," she says.
She started the clinic in 2000 for patients of all ages after noticing that many parents had stopped bringing their children for well-baby exams because they had no insurance. "This was the time to give back to my community," she says.
In the 10 years since, the clinic's doctors have treated many Filipinos among the 2,200 patients seen in some 5,300 visits (Violeta and husband Juanito immigrated to Wisconsin in 1967 after finishing medical school in the Philippines, where she has returned to conduct medical missions.) Yet the clinic also serves many other nationalities. Recently, Violeta admitted a family of five missionaries who were in town and heard about the clinic. "You're in the right place," she told them.
Although Violeta loves to sleep in on Saturdays, seeing the deep need of people lined up in sub-zero weather with coffee and blankets an hour before the clinic opens makes her sacrifice worthwhile.