In our new series, Stories of Passion, we are highlighting dedicated volunteers who help us build healthier communities in NW Louisiana. Today, we would like to introduce you to Teresa Kevil. She’s volunteered with MLK Health for over 20 years.
Teresa Kevil, NP, Volunteer since 1997
It was 1997 when Teresa Kevil, or Terry as friends call her, moved back to Shreveport to accept a faculty position at NSU. Shortly after moving back Terry called MLK Health, formerly on Sprague Street, to begin volunteering to maintain her board certification. What started out as a few Saturdays a month eventually transformed into a passion project.
“My impression of the clinic when it was housed on Sprague St. was that it was truly medicine “in the trenches”. We only had two very small exam rooms that were simultaneously used as storage rooms.”
But our impact was undeniable to Terry. She could see we were serving patients who would otherwise be left behind; patients who were literally falling through the cracks of our healthcare system. What was remarkable to her was that our work extended beyond the walls of our clinic on Sprague Street.
“Sprague St. was in an area of town where prostitutes were located, and I was very impressed that MLK had identified a need to hand out free condoms to the prostitutes to protect the health of these patients.”
Terry noticed something else that was different about MLK Health’s approach to healthcare: compassion.
“We also had several patients who had been seen at a local clinic hospital clinic who were treated very poorly, including one obese diabetic patient who started crying when she told me that she was trying to follow the diet they had given her, but every time she went, they told her that they knew she was untruthful about this since her numbers didn’t change.This lady had taken in two severely disabled children to foster (one a teenager and one an infant) who she later adopted, had grandchildren of her own that she sometimes kept, and had really bad knees that made it difficult for her to move around much . We promised her that we would never accuse her of lying to us and we would work with her to improve her numbers which she did. She cried years later when she qualified for Medicare and had to change providers.”
Terry worked with NSU College of Nursing to establish a partnership between NSU and MLK Health that allows NSU faculty to bring their NP students to clinic days at MLK Health. For over 13 years now, NSU NP students have been a critical part of clinic day operations.
Although Terry plans to retire sometime in the near future, she will still volunteer with MLK Health because she believes “MLK Health truly cares about the healthcare status of the people who make up the communities we serve.
“To quote Dr. Robert Jackson, “I have always received more from the patients in our clinic than I ever gave.” No truer words could be spoken.”
Thank you Terry for your dedicated service to MLK Health and the health of our community!