When you share your story with us, it helps us tell our story- to donors, supporters, grant makers, and many more. One of the best ways you can help Essential Health Clinic is by telling us how we’ve impacted your life, and letting us share that message with others.
I felt empowered by the education the staff shared with me and in the decisions I made.
I first came to Essential Health Clinic as a college student seeking reproductive health services. I thought this would be a scary, demeaning, and embarrassing experience; however, the staff was supportive, they took time to give me information about their services. I felt empowered by the education the staff shared with me and in the decisions I made to be a responsible young adult.
I never felt judged, embarrassed, or misunderstood. The atmosphere was welcoming and safe. Going through this process made me feel privileged to have access to these services and confident that I had made a responsible choice.
My favorite thing about Essential Health Clinic is how comfortable and relaxed the staff makes me feel.
My name is Katie and I am a 22-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and I have been receiving services from Essential Health Clinic since I was 18. When I moved to La Crosse to attend college in 2008, I no longer had a primary doctor or gynecologist and as a new student, did not have the financial means to pay for medical bills. I needed somewhere to go for reproductive health screenings that also considered my income. Essential Health Clinic was referred to me by a friend.
Primarily I visit Essential Health Clinic to have annual exams and screenings as well as access to safe forms of contraceptives. The staff has educated me on different forms of cancer, STDs, and newer FDA approved contraceptives like the IUD. They help me keep track of when I need an annual exam and important health screenings. I have also had questions answered for me over the phone without having to go into the clinic; they always call me back in a timely manner and are happy to answer any of my concerns.
My favorite thing about Essential Health Clinic is how comfortable and relaxed the staff makes me feel. I have not once, in 5 years, had a bad experience at the clinic. It's not easy talking to strangers about sexual health and annual exams (especially at a young age). The staff is helpful, understanding and nonjudgmental, and is here to support our community and provide needed reproductive health services and education. Because of Essential Health Clinic I have received needed health screenings, education about safe practices, and contraceptives.
"Had I not visited Essential Health Clinic in middle school, I think I would have withdrawn at school and at home...I was given the information I needed to take control of my reproductive health."
My name is Jan and I am honored to give back to Essential Health Clinic by serving on the Board of Directors because Essential Health Clinic has deeply impacted my life.
The first time was when I was 12 years old. Like most of the women in my family, I began menstruating at a young age. My periods were heavy, painful, and lasted for weeks. I was unable to participate in many of the activities that my peers were doing. I dreaded swimming lessons, sleep overs, and camping trips. I was emotional and cried all the time. I didn’t understand what was going on my body and did not know with whom to talk. My mom did take me to our family doctor and the doctor suggested that I go on the pill to relieve my painful cramps.
Unfortunately, my father refused to allow me to take this medical advice and was adamant that no daughter of his would be on birth control. No matter how my mother pleaded that this was only for medical reasons, he would not agree.
Fortunately for me, I took a chance and finally shared my story with an older friend at school. She encouraged me to visit Essential Health Clinic. By now I was 13 and desperate to relieve the pain and heavy bleeding so that I could fully participate in life.
I decided to visit Essential Health Clinic on my own. The nurse practitioner was wonderful. She answered my questions, reassured me that I was normal, explained what was going on in my body and gave me access to birth control. Within two months I felt better and my periods were normal. While one can never surely know what would have happened, I can honestly say that had I NOT visited Essential Health Clinic in middle school, I think I would have withdrawn at school and at home. Getting on birth control allowed me full access to everything.
This decision was more than just regulating my period; it helped me to be comfortable with my transition to womanhood and allowed me to take full advantage of the opportunities in front of me. My early relationship with Essential Health Clinic served me well into adulthood. I was given the information I needed to take control of my reproductive health.