Dr. Leon Bullard, an ob/gyn from Lexington, is the medical director for SC Mission 2013, the annual two-day event that provides free health care for the uninsured and underinsured. This year’s event will be Aug. 2-3 at the State Fairgrounds.
Why are you inspired to volunteer?
SC Mission 2013 gives us (clinicians) a valuable occasion to give back to our community. Many of us have been blessed with educational opportunities without which we might have been unable to achieve our goals. Events such as SC Mission 2013 Midlands provide a vehicle to say “Thank You.” This is my third year volunteering, and I am honored to have been chosen to serve as this year’s medical director.
Why are events like this important for the Midlands community?
Events such as Mission 2013 provide a composite picture of what health care for all members of society should look like. Every person should have access to preventive services that screen for, detect and initiate treatment for the common diseases to which humans are prey, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and cancer, just to name a few. The goal is that each Mission 2013 patient will obtain a referral and access to a medical home for ongoing health care needs.
As an ob/gyn, why did you advocate for pap smear screenings this year?
Last year, the gynecologists on site saw patients with complaints ranging from need for contraceptive advice to screening for sexually transmitted diseases. One particular recurrent request was for a screening test for cervical cancer. The actual testing is feasible and relatively easy to provide. The main concern is follow-up appointments for those whose screen is suspicious. We hope this year to offer cervical cancer screening for those patients who do not have access through DHEC community health clinics or other free clinics.
Would you encourage a patient who has not had medical care in a few years, but who feels generally healthy, to come?
Short answer, yes. There are many scientific studies that have shown that perhaps 1 in 4 people may have undiagnosed hypertension, diabetes, early kidney or lung problems, but are still without symptoms. Early detection through a simple health screening such as the ones provided at SC Mission may prevent a life-limiting disease progression.