Dr. Jennifer Hickman Wins Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award
Loudoun Free Clinic is excited to announce that Dr. Jennifer Hickman has received the Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award for the Loudoun County 2020 Outstanding Volunteer Awards program sponsored by Loudoun Cares!
Since February 2017, Dr. Hickman has been volunteering weekly at Loudoun Free Clinic. She provides critical gynecologic services and treatment to our uninsured female patients in need. She is also the first of our volunteers to return to the clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are grateful for her service.
Dr. Hickman worked 270 volunteer hours during 2019 at Loudoun Free Clinic, the highest number of hours provided by any other volunteer physician during that time. She provided critical gynecologic well woman exams to 96 of our female patients, including pap smears and pelvic and breast examinations. She also diagnosed and prescribed treatments for various gynecologic disorders, performed in-office procedures including IUD insertion and removal, and colposcopy with biopsy when abnormal labs indicated further evaluation. These types of exams are extremely intimidating for any woman, but Dr. Hickman possesses an extremely compassionate and reassuring manner that helps to put our patients at ease when faced with serious health concerns. She takes the time to ease and educate patients about disease prevention, detection and reproductive health. When patients understand and comply with the physician’s treatment plan, it reduces the likelihood of progression of disease and health conditions. The end result is a decrease of referrals to outside specialty surgeons and the University of Virginia for charity care cases.
Dr. Hickman has been also been an integral part of implementing Loudoun Free Clinic’s “Food As Medicine” collaborative effort with Loudoun Hunger Relief. Each week during the summer, she and her children would travel to Loudoun Hunger Relief warehouse, pack up approximately 70 bags full of fresh produce, and unload for distribution to the patients at the Clinic. Many of our patients suffer from diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. By integrating fresh produce into their diets, they have been able to improve their measures of cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Approximately 70 families each week were beneficiaries of this highly successful program.
Because Loudoun Free Clinic is a non-profit that depends on charitable contributions, grants and state funding, our budget for staffing, medical supplies and equipment is often limited. Dr. Hickman improvises to obtain donations of equipment or revenue to purchase necessary items for our patient’s gynecologic care. Additionally, 63 percent of our patients are Spanish speaking, which provides a language barrier since she does not speak Spanish. She has a Medical Assistant who must interpret for the patient and communicate the treatment plan back to the patient. Despite any obstacle, Dr. Hickman has always managed to forge ahead and tackle it for the sake of our patient’s care. She has always been able to adapt to changes in staff over the years, displaying great warmth and appreciated dedication to the mission and the patients of Loudoun Free Clinic.
The staff at Loudoun Free Clinic is so grateful to have Dr. Hickman on our team. We couldn't ask for a more supportive and dedicated volunteer, and we truly believe she is deserving of this award! Congratulations, Jennifer!!