Villa Therese Catholic Clinic received a $25,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) initiative. Villa Therese Catholic Clinic’s commitment to serve the underserved with quality health care in a responsible manner, continuing the mission of the Sisters of Charity established in 1937, aligns with the vision of BCBSNM’s HKHF grant program to help improve the health of children and their families in local communities.
Throughout 2020, Villa Therese Catholic Clinic faced obstacles, including having to shut its doors and cease operations, lack of access to proper personal protective materials, and inability to meet all safety standards for staff and the community. During this time, Villa Therese Catholic Clinic continued to focus on expanding services to relocate from behind The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi to a newly constructed clinic located in the Hopewell-Mann Street Housing division to increase access to care for the patient population and help reduce barriers for this group.
“As the executive director, I would like to personally thank Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico and Healthy Kids, Healthy Families for helping to make our work possible,” said Victoria Otero, Villa Therese Catholic Clinic executive director. “Your generosity supported our continued operations in delivering no-cost health care to those most in need. Our current and future success of providing free medical, dental, and vision care to those without access is sustained by the continued generosity of our community and supporters like you!”
“Caring for some of our most vulnerable children and their families is a top priority for Villa Therese Catholic Clinic,” said Janice Torrez, BCBSNM president. “Social determinants, such as lack of access to food and health care, have a big impact on health. Villa Therese Catholic Clinic helps address these social determinants by providing the community with necessary resources when they would not otherwise have access. BCBSNM is pleased to support them as they work to provide support for at-risk families.”
Villa Therese Catholic Clinic’s annual Pack-to-School Program in which 100+ backpacks are distributed to students in need could not be held in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Blessing Bag program was launched when the clinic reopened and distributed Blessing Bags to at least 200 families in an effort reconnect with patients and provide some assistance as the pandemic continued. The Blessing Bag program collected data on social determinants of health – food insecurity, transportation, housing, school supply needs and number of children in the household – based on zip code to track possible issues in a certain area. Each Blessing Bag contained a $50 gift card, masks for children and adults, hand sanitizer, pencils, notebooks, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste and toilet paper. This could not have been accomplished without the help and collaboration with BCBSNM and the HKHF grant.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a signature program of BCBSNM. The initiative focuses on engaging children and their families in understanding the importance of nutritious food, raising the level of physical activity, better managing chronic conditions and promoting safe environments. Villa Therese Catholic Clinic works with underserved families to continue providing free health care for a vulnerable population in an environment with limited funding and makes an effort to improve current conditions and health outcomes for the population and community served by Villa Therese Catholic Clinic.