CLEVELAND – Mona M. Counts second-mortgaged her home in order to open a clinic that now serves the isolated, undereducated, underemployed and under-insured in the Appalachian region of southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. Counts, the Elouise Ross Eberly Professor of Nursing at Penn State University, will speak at Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing on “Rural Culture and the Health Care System” Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in Ford Auditorium.
Counts’ talk is part of the Bolton School’s Rozella Schlotfeldt Lecture Series, which focuses on current issues in health care.
In addition to teaching rural family nursing practice, Counts is the brainchild behind the Mt. Morris Primary Care Center in Greene County, Pa., which since 1994 has provided primary health care services to over 5,000 patients in one of the poorer sections of Appalachia.
Refusing to believe that the rural poor must lead impoverished lives, Counts is a revered mentor who teaches and inspires others to think likewise. She has dedicated her life not to her own fortunes but lovingly to the care of her patients. She is always ‘on call,’ with the singular ability not only to help her patients get well, but also to inspire them to work toward their own dreams. Answering calls in the dead of night, driving mountain roads through blinding snowstorms to care for the afflicted, she sometimes is paid in zucchini – or not at all.
Counts’ groundbreaking efforts have gained a great deal of national attention. In 2002, then-U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson named her a National Primary Health Care Policy Fellow and appointed her to a national panel of health care leaders that addressed serious issues relating to the cost, quality, and delivery of primary health care services. A year later, Counts received the Cherokee Uniforms Inspired Comfort Award, which honors those who have given exceptional services, sacrifice, and innovation in the health care profession. Then, in July 2004, she was profiled as an “Everyday Hero” by Reader’s Digest, which profiles “ordinary citizens who perform extraordinary acts at great personal risk or sacrifice.”
The Rozella Schlotfeldt Lecture Series is named for the late former dean of the Frances Payne School of Nursing. During her tenure from 1960 to 1972, Schlotfeldt garnered college administrative support to offer scientific research opportunities and the university’s first nursing doctorates. She died in July 2005.
The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the School of Nursing at 216-368-4700.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.