Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center

The Center is a one of 16 sites operated by Central Virginia Health Services, Inc.

Cathy Marcum is a diabetes educator at the Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center who helps patients referred to her by physicians and nurses at the Center with making changes in their life that will help improve their health. A patient who has worked with Cathy for the last two years, Shelley Baker*, shared what she has experienced.

Shelley came to the Center in January 2016 because she had a sore throat that would not go away – which turned out to be severe bronchitis. Because Shelley was overweight and concerned about getting diabetes, which runs in her family, her doctor referred her to Cathy for exercise options, stress reduction tips and help with quitting smoking.

Shelley says,” the doctor did not tell her to quit smoking, really.” However, because of her throat problems, and with Cathy’s help, she decided to take steps towards quitting, which she achieved a few months later. Then, Shelley began going to Cathy’s Nutrition classes in spring 2016. With info on healthier food options, and Cathy’s one-on-one counseling, Shelley worked hard to lose 25 pounds – going from 236 to 209 pounds.

Yet Shelley has had real life issues that impacted continued lifestyle changes last year. Then she was the primary caregiver for her 90-year old mother, who is blind and has other major health problems. Shelley reports “last year when my mom went into dialysis, I gained back weight, and had no time for myself.” Again, she turned to Cathy’s health education program at Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center. Shelley started going to Cathy’s Tai Chi exercise classes regularly, and learned how to use deep breathing in times of stress with her mom. Shelley notes: “I am feeling better health-wise. Cathy has been a major influence and always is generous with her help.” The changes “gave me confidence.”

Last summer Shelley’s mom moved to an assisted living facility, which freed her to take more exercise classes and manage her diet more consistently. Now Shelley participates in Cathy’s Arthritis exercise classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and stays for Tai Chi class held Mondays. Last fall she went to evening classes at the Hopewell Community Center, including Zumba.

Her current doctors at the Community Health Center have been helpful to Shelley, too. Dr. Mary Chiu has worked with Shelley on “straightening out her hormone medication.” Her blood work test results two weeks showed that her blood pressure and glucose numbers are much improved. Dr. Chiu has reduced Shelley’s cholesterol medicine dosage. And, getting “all her dental care through CVHS has been nice, too.” Shelley goes to CVHS’ Charles City County health center to see a dentist.

Shelley is committed to working to “dodge diabetes onset, because my father had it.” And Cathy’s exercises classes are making a difference. In addition to encouraging health changes, Shelley enjoys socializing with other ladies in the class. They “trade plants, vegetables they grow, and books.” Shelley says, “Cathy is just a great instructor and motivator.”

Because she works part-time and does not have benefits, and is on a fixed income, the Center’s sliding fee option makes it possible for Shelley to get health care regularly from Dr. Chiu and the other providers who care for patients at Central Virginia Health Services’ 16 sites. Plus, she has the opportunity to take Cathy Marcum’s exercise and nutrition classes, for free, right in her native community of Hopewell. The Center is located very near the Hopewell-Prince George County line at 4260 Crossings Blvd.

Shelley ended our conversation by sharing, with a happy voice, that last weekend she went on a “yard sale” trip in southwestern Virginia with her sisters, staying at the mountain place near Hillsville, where her mother was raised. She related that Cathy Marcum, and her friends in exercise class, have “opened doors for her to get out and learn more herself.” The Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center is a “great place to get help. No one needs to be skeptical about going there.”

Story shared by:

Edie McRee Bowles

Associate Director of Development

Central Virginia Health Services

* The name of our patient has been changed in this story for privacy reasons. However, “Shelley” has shared with Cathy Marcum and the development staff of Central Virginia Health Services that she is willing to talk with United Way staff/volunteers, or attend an event to share her story in person.

Tai Chi class led by Cathy Marcum, health educator – held Monday and Wednesday mornings at the Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center.

Cathy Marcum’s Arthritis classes held at the
Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center.