For almost 50 years, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) has been serving the residents of Charlotte and the surrounding Mecklenburg County with compassionate, nonjudgmental care including preventive services like birth control, lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, and sexual health education. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education.
As you can imagine, PPSAT has been following the COVID-19 crisis closely, and their practices are being adapted to best serve their clients at this time. Reproductive health care is essential care, even during a pandemic, and due to extra precautions and their ability to quickly pivot, the doors of their new health and education facility located in midtown Charlotte have remained open throughout the chaos.
"Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is proud to to keep our doors open to ensure our community has access to the reproductive healthcare they need”, comments Director of Philanthropy, Marcie Shealy.
To limit exposure in their health center, non-health center staff began working from home in early March, and their on-site staff are practicing social distancing guidelines. To maintain access for patients and reduce the number of people in their health centers, they have accelerated the launch of telehealth.
The majority of their family planning patients, including hormone replacement therapy patients, can be seen via telehealth, however, there are some services that require an in-person visit. For those services, patients coming into the health center are pre-screened on the phone, and health center staff take the patient’s temperature upon arrival. Increased cleaning protocols are also in place to make sure PPSAT staff and patients are safe and healthy. Additionally they have adjusted health center hours to match patient demand.
PPSAT is proud to offer a broad range of education services in the Charlotte community, serving thousands of teens each year, and is committed to continuing education services throughout this crisis. That’s why two full time community educators on staff, Liz Schob and Jessica Neupane, have created virtual programming, transitioning classes to the Zoom platform to lead Teen Connection classes. Neupane and Schob are also supporting two other local nonprofits during this time by offering virutal sex education workshops and healthy relationship talks to clients of Time Out Youth and Renaissance West Community Initiative.
As for how their staff are holding up? Shealy says, “Through all of this, our staff is staying positive. They arrive with smiles every day, proud to be essential health care workers during this difficult time.”
If you are looking for a way to support Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, you can make a financial donation here, or show your appreciation to the health center staff by sending them breakfast or lunch via this sign-up Meal Train.
BONUS GOOD: Did you know Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is in the running to win $5K this month? Thanks to the Amy and Brian France Foundation who have partnered with SHARE Charlotte for this year’s Spotlight Series, and YOU can help when you VOTE NOW! You can also check out the other organizations eligible to win this month’s prize, here!