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Pauline Nagle Olsen
Purpose Prize Fellow 2012
Olsen provides free, ongoing medical care to the uninsured in the Hartford, Conn., area from a custom-built, fully equipped mobile medical van.
Over the years, physician Pauline Nagle Olsen felt called to volunteer on medical missions in South Korea. But after leaving her private practice in 2005, she wanted to help people closer to home, in Hartford, Conn.
A year later she co-founded the Malta House of Care mobile medical clinic to provide free, ongoing medical care to Hartford’s uninsured. Operating from a custom-built, fully equipped van that parks at different churches in low-income neighborhoods four days a week, the mobile clinic is staffed by 80 volunteer doctors (including Olsen), nurses, counselors, interpreters and administrators.
Since 2006, it has provided more than 22,400 patient visits for numerous conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, bronchial asthma, gastrointestinal problems and infectious disease. The clinic offers free diagnostic tests, vaccines, lab work, radiological imaging and medications.
Because the Malta clinic is the sole source of ongoing primary care for approximately 3,000 patients, Olsen is introducing electronic records and expanding the clinic’s eye exams and colonoscopy screenings.
“Words cannot describe how invaluable this service is to these unfortunate people who very often don’t realize how ill they really are,” Olsen says. “The clinic saves lives.”