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About

Free Mobile Health Care Services in Wise, VA

About Us

Mission Statement

The Health Wagon’s mission is to provide compassionate, quality health care to the medically underserved people in the Mountains of Appalachia. Our values are inclusiveness, community outreach, collaboration, spirituality, and empowerment. 

Vision:

The Health Wagon is an innovative leader in the provision of quality health care services that are compassionate, comprehensive, and accessible whose ultimate mandate is to promote a healthy community through education, empowerment, collaboration, and outreach.

Values:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Community Outreach
  • Collaboration
  • Spirituality
  • Empowerment

About The Health Wagon

Forty years ago, Sister Bernadette Kenny of the Catholic Order Medical Missionaries of Mary began what is now known as the Health Wagon. At that time, Sister “Bernie,” as she is most affectionately known, traveled on rural mountain roads in her Volkswagen Beetle to deliver health care to individuals in the mountainous region of southwest Virginia. The Health Wagon is the oldest mobile clinic in the nation. The Health Wagon hosts the largest health outreach of its kind in the nation (formerly Wise Remote Area Medical) and was an instrumental partner in the first ever FAA approved drone delivery of medications in the United States, in partnership with Flirty, NASA Langley and others. The historic drone has been inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The Health Wagon does not bill for services and is sustained by grants, and donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. The Health Wagon visits thirteen sites in southwest Virginia and has two stationary clinics. The Health Wagon serves the medically underserved in far southwest Virginia with primary, specialty, dental and vision care. In 2020, the Health Wagon served 6,161 unduplicated patients and documented over 18,364 visits/encounters. The Health Wagon has garnered notable recognition including interviews from media that include: 60 Minutes, Nightline, CBS Nightly News, Inside Edition, Washington Post, New York Times along with other extensive media attention, including international press, regarding efforts to provide access to health care to the poor and marginalized in the Appalachian region. The Health Wagon has presented at United Nations and the World Health Organization multiple times. The Health Wagon is led by President and CEO, Dr. Teresa Tyson. Tyson leads the clinic in promoting the mission of providing quality, affordable, accessible care to all with an emphasis on serving the medically underserved

History

In 1980, the Health Wagon was founded by Sr. Bernie Kenny with the order of Medical Missionaries of Mary. She came to the Appalachian mountains at the request of the Richmond Catholic Diocese. She started the program when she began dispensing health care and a kind touch from her Volkswagen Beetle. St. Mary’s Hospital provided a valuable partnership and sponsored the program for over twenty-five years. Sr. Bernie turned over the reins of the organization in December 2005 to Teresa Gardner who has been with The Health Wagon for over thirty years.

The Health Wagon continues to strive to meet the unique challenges of health care delivery to the medically underserved and indigent in poverty-stricken areas of rural Appalachia. Through the use of this innovative mobile health unit, health care doors are opened to many needy individuals, families and communities; doors that would have otherwise remained closed.

The Health Wagon visits eleven sites in Southwest Virginia’s Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, and Wise counties on a weekly, biweekly, and monthly basis. Accessibility to culturally sensitive primary health care services that emphasize education and prevention is considered the key to improving the health status for populations residing in these rural areas. Services are rendered essentially free of charge; however, donations are encouraged and accepted.

Faith and Values

Health Wagon Inspirational Verses on Healing

Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. ~Psalm 103:1-4

He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. ~Psalm 107:20

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wound. ~Psalm 147:3

Heal me, O lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for your are my praise. ~ Jeremiah 17:14

Be Still and Know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10

But He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

But He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O lord, for my bones are troubled. Psalm 6:2

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. Psalm 30:2

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