Author: Stephanie Rojas Dental Assistant and Patient
I was ten years old when I first heard about Health Partnership Clinic. It was 2006.
As a kid, I knew something was wrong with my mom. She wasn’t like other moms. She was always tired, had no appetite and walked with a limp.
When she’d come home from work, she’d go to sleep, and I wouldn’t see her again until the morning.
It was lonely for me. I was always on my own—doing my homework, making dinner, cleaning the house…she just didn’t have the energy.
It got especially bad when my step-dad divorced my mom. He couldn’t cope with her inability to simply function. Her depression deepened, and it was a dark time for us.
But that all changed!
A friend told my mom about Health Partnership Clinic. As a single mom with a low-wage job and no health insurance, finances were always a worry.
When she learned that the clinic accepted donations for care (today the clinic provides a sliding discount program for those who qualify), she took the most important step in her life…she made an appointment.
Before long, the provider figured out what was causing her illness—it was Lupus. My mom was quickly referred to a specialist and started taking medications. Luckily, she was in the early stages.
It was a long treatment process but today, thanks to Health Partnership Clinic, my mom enjoys an active and full life. She credits HPC for literally saving her life. HPC gave me back my mom!
But my story doesn’t end there.
About this same time, we moved to Texas. At 15 years old, I gave birth to my son, Abel. A couple of years later I returned home to the Kansas City area and graduated from high school.
I always wanted to help people. But as a single, teen mom, I had to choose a career that would allow me to be there for my son and earn a living. I ended up enrolling in a dental assistant program at Concorde Career College. That was one of the best decisions of my life.
Shortly after graduation, I heard about a dental assistant position at the clinic. The name rang a bell. My mom reminded me of her experience at HPC. I knew I wanted to work there.
When I was hired I was so excited to have the chance to give back. I’ve been a dental assistant since 2015.
Along the way, I had another child, Eli. Although my significant other and I live together, it’s tough to make ends meet.
I was able to qualify for the clinic’s sliding fee program—which made health care more affordable.
Today, both of my children have KanCare—thanks to the clinic’s enrollment coordinator who helped me with the paperwork.
My kids receive dental services regularly and so do I. As a patient and staff member, I have a unique perspective. Our dentist, Dr. Nader, treats patients like they are his own family members. His concern and focus on quality motivate me and my coworkers. I’m proud to be part of this team.
We see a lot of diverse patients—kids, adults, those who have physical and mental disabilities and many who have difficulty speaking English. No matter who I’m serving, my mission is to make patients feel comfortable, relaxed and accommodate their needs.
Sometimes we even do procedures standing up because the patient is afraid to sit in the dental chair. It puts a little stress on our backs, but patients leave smiling.
Our team also provides school-based dental outreach services including screenings and restorative care to hundreds of area children, and I occasionally help out.
I also bring my kids to the Pediatric Walk-In Clinic. It’s for those non-emergency problems—like earaches and fevers— when you need quick care. As a busy mom of two, working full time and on a tight budget, the Walk-In Clinic has been a lifesaver—more than once. Plus, I avoid a costly trip to the ER or urgent care center.
I’m so thankful for Health Partnership Clinic. They’ve given my mom a future, hope to me, and an active and energic grandma for my children.
I also have the privilege to work with a great staff who make a difference every day. Thank you, HPC!