“Being involved in the community is a huge part of who I am.”
“Just because it’s affordable care, doesn’t mean it’s any less quality,” says Natalie Ransom. As a small business owner in Bellingham, she had trouble finding affordable health care. A staff member in Unity Care NW’s Outreach & Enrollment department helped her enroll in Apple Health through Community Health Plan of Washington. “They really helped me figure things out,” she says, pleased to learn she’d be covered for necessary lab work and tests. Natalie has now been a Unity Care NW patient for over five years.
A few years ago, she had an allergic reaction that caused splotches all over her body. “My whole system was freaking out!” she said. The problem mystified dermatologists, but it was her Unity Care NW health care provider who discovered the source. Natalie owns a floral business in Bellingham and works with all types of flowers every day. She discovered that she has a rare sensitivity to sunflowers and zinnias when they are in a certain growth phase. Not knowing the cause of her allergy was impacting her livelihood, so it was a great relief to discover that the solution to her allergy was taking a simple over-the-counter medication. She cites her provider’s practical approach and “good bedside manner” as key to finding not just a solution but also an inexpensive one.
She also sees her Unity Care NW provider for her reproductive and mental health matters. “He listens to me and believes me when I tell him my concerns. I’m really heartened to be treated in that way.” She also likes how he encourages her to try lifestyle changes rather than going right to medication.
Natalie is active in the business community, serving as an ambassador with the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and as a board member for both Whatcom Women in Business and Blue Skies for Children. She also donates gift certificates, time, and flowers for local non-profits. “Being involved in the community is a huge part of who I am,” she says. Running a small business is expensive, but giving back is a priority. And so is finding good health care. “Unity Care NW is an affordable option for me.”
We are so thankful to our dedicated team who have been working long hours to ensure our patients are safe and healthy during this pandemic.
Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe, and bring this pandemic to an end.
The faster we can get people vaccinated, the sooner we achieve herd immunity and we can get back to doing the things we love. – Brenda, Pharmacy Technician
I am blessed to be part of a team of folks that get the vaccine so soon. It was a great experience and I would do it again! – DJ, Substance Use Disorder Professional
I feel it is important to get vaccinated to help protect my family, my friends, my patients, my community. I get vaccinated to protect those that cannot. – Jen, Dental Hygienist
I feel it’s an important start to end this pandemic. – Kathy, Dental Assistant
It’s never easy making a decision to accept a treatment that is so new, without the benefit of long term studies, but I trust the science and I’m willing to contribute to the greater good, because I believe it is that important. – Grant, BH Director
I am blessed to be able to have the opportunity to be vaccinated and to continue to provide safe and quality service to all the amazing patients we provide for! I am excited to be amongst amazing peers and colleagues who are all striving together to end the pandemic, one shot at a time. – Kaylee, Pharmacy Assistant
Protecting my health and the health of others is extremely important to me. Getting the vaccine is one giant step to ending this pandemic. I’m looking forward to brighter and safer times ahead when our community can heal from this difficult time” – Tamara, Development Officer
Anybody can get Covid-19 if they are not vaccinated. Getting Covid-19 may make you really sick, and that adds stress to the healthcare system and unnecessary expenses. – Steen, Facilities Manager
“I feel better than I have in a decade!”
After getting her 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, local LGBTQ activist and drag icon, Betty Desire says, “I feel better than I have in a decade!”
While acknowledging the reason could be psychological– becoming fully vaccinated has lifted much stress brought on by the pandemic – Betty also attributes her improved health to becoming a “Mall Walker” – logging an impressive 7+ miles during a recent outing at the Bellis Fair Mall.
Betty is self-employed as the publisher of Bellingham’s LGBTQ+ newspaper, “The Betty Pages” and well-known for her drag performances at Rumors Cabaret. Unity Care NW is Betty’s health care home.
Her age, medical history, and patient status qualified her to be among the first group to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at Unity Care’s clinic at 220 Unity Street. Her provider, Nurse Practitioner Kate Wojnicki, is part of the team administering the doses. Kate has cared for Betty for over six years.
“My practitioner’s help goes beyond the physical”, Betty says. “I can talk to her without putting on filters; Kate understands and doesn’t take offense.” Betty initially chose Unity Care for health care because it was conveniently located and accepted her insurance. But she soon recognized that the health center stepped up when it came to the local LBGTQ+ community For example, the health center has marchers in the annual Pride Parade, an event with the goal is “to cultivate and preserve a safe and healthy community for LGBTQ+ folks and their families to live, work, grow, and thrive”. Unity Care identifies respect for patients and staff as a key organizational value, “honoring the diversity of opinion, background, feelings, and lived experience without judgment.” For marginalized groups, Betty says, it’s important to know that “there is a place you can receive treatment without condemnation, and you’ll be well-taken care of and listened to.”
Betty’s recent visit to Unity Care for her second vaccine dose in February sparked a new partnership: starting in April, Kate will have a recurring column in the Betty Pages, offering health guidance on a variety of topics to readers of “Cascadia’s most inclusive alternative lifestyle entertainment tabloid”.
Betty wants to encourage others to get the vaccine, whenever they are eligible. “I’m an open book. I want to share my experience so that others can benefit”.