BY ALYSSA COBURN, Neighborhood News Bureau
TAMPA — On July 30, Dr. Faye Golden arrived at St. James AME Church of Progress Village with a portable examination table, a stethoscope, paperwork. Golden already spent two days providing free physicals for school-age children, but she was available for one more day. Setting up her clinic in one of the back offices of the church, Golden vowed to “not leave until the last child is served.”
Over the course of five hours, six families stopped by to receive free health care for their children. Golden performed 10 free comprehensive physicals for children ages 4 to 17. Seven of the 10 children received chiropractic adjustments.
Every summer, Dove Love offers free physicals to prepare kids for back-to-school. Golden earned a doctorate in chiropractic medicine from Life University College of Chiropractic and is the founder and primary care provider for Dove Love Inc. a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization which provides health care to the underinsured, uninsured and underserved people in the Tampa Bay area.
According to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau, Florida is among the top five states with the highest rate of uninsured people. Hillsborough County has an uninsured rate of 14.7 percent or approximately 198,000 people. Pinellas County is close behind with the uninsured rate of 14.3 percent or approximately 135,000 people.
Damien Jones, 17, received a comprehensive sports physical. Jones, a football player, also received a chiropractic adjustment to his ankle.
“It’s been real stiff when I’m running, but it feels much better now,” Jones said.
“’Free’ is a word you don’t hear with health care,” Jones’ grandmother, Barbara Williams, said. “For us to have the opportunity to have free health care for my grandson is wonderful. It’s beneficial for those who lack good health care or any health care at all,” Williams added.
Georisha Nealy, mother of four, was able to get her three school-age children examined.
“It was a great experience, especially for those who don’t have health insurance, like myself. There’s a lot of people in the community that don’t have that opportunity to receive health care,” Nealy said.
According to Golden, a comprehensive physical typically cost around $200 and her rate for 1-2 chiropractic adjustments is $116. This summer, Dove Love provided free exams for 28 children, and chiropractic adjustments for 25 of them, totaling $8,500 worth of care.
While free clinics are available throughout the Tampa Bay area, Dove Love often goes directly to the people, performing house calls and utilizing community centers like churches.
“We have over 50 patients served weekly in some way shape or form,” Golden said.
In addition to providing annual free school entry physicals, Dove Love provides free vitamins for the homeless and nutritionally insecure, monthly health education seminars and reduced-cost health care.
Dove Love’s next community outreach will be their inaugural Health and Healing Conference on Sept. 23 at John Hopkins Middle School. More information can be found on Dove Love’s Facebook page, “Dove Love, Inc.”