Teresa Gardner of Wise, Virginia is a caring and compassionate person who makes the needs of her patients a top priority. She has served with the Health Wagon, a free mobile health clinic, for nearly twenty years. Through the Health Wagon, Gardner provides healthcare to the financially deprived population of southwest Virginia. There exists complex interrelationship of high rates of poverty, significant health risk factors, low educational attainment and limited access to specialty care leading to exceptionally high rates of premature mortality in Gardner’s service area.
Gardner, who has been in the nursing field since 1989, currently serves as the executive director of the organization. The Health Wagon has two permanent locations and two mobile clinics. Gardner’s clinic manages over 200 patients and more than 6,000 visits annually. She has performed interviews with several international and national media correspondents speaking upon the health issues of those residing in the Appalachians. She introduced the American Breast Cancer Foundation into the Appalachian area, providing over 1,000 free mammograms to women in need in southwest Virginia.
Gardner efforts have immensely contributed to the overall well-being of residents of southwest Virginia. She works daily on multiple collaborative efforts to enhance the healthcare of the region. Many of these endeavors would not be possible without the continued leadership and guidance of Gardener.