Edwina Taylor

Executive Director
Cahaba Valley Health Care
Purpose Prize Fellow 2009

Taylor arranges access to health services — including vision and dental care — for underserved, uninsured people, chiefly Hispanics, in Alabama.

Taylor worked as a hematology/oncology nurse for nearly 30 years and saw firsthand the difficulties uninsured people faced in accessing health care. In the late 1990s, Taylor noticed an increase in Hispanic immigrants in the area and asked herself: “If getting health care is this hard for people who were born here, speak the language, and have access to the system, how hard is it if you aren’t from here, don’t speak the language, and may not even have all your papers?” Taylor, 61, understood that the hardships faced by the uninsured were compounded in the Hispanic community due to culture and trust barriers. With the help of friends and donated space from her church, Taylor founded Cahaba Valley Health Care, or CVHC, to provide vision, dental, and blood pressure screenings and diligent case management. The services are offered 14 times a year and are held on Sundays in locations that are accessible to the Hispanic population, usually churches. To conduct the screenings, CVHC utilizes volunteers, including optometry and medical students; health care professionals; native Spanish speakers; and even local high school students. In 2008, volunteers donated more than 2,700 hours to Taylor’s organization.