Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Mission of Mercy

A woman has her blood pressure checked during patient screening at a Mission of Mercy mobile medical clinic in central Phoenix.

A Mission of Mercy provides an essential service in Phoenix and the other communities it serves. The volunteer doctors and nurses that work with MOM bring free medical care to people who either don’t have health insurance or can’t afford health care. 

As Arizona’s economy has continued to swirl into recession, Mission of Mercy has seen their patient load skyrocket. Patient visits have more than doubled since 2008, and earlier this fall MOM opened their first clinic in Avondale, on the west side of Phoenix, in one of the Phoenix suburbs hit hardest by the collapse of the real estate market. 

I’ve been a photojournalist for almost 30 years. It seems like in the last three years most of what I’ve photographed is the collapse of the “American Dream” and the third worldization of America. The rich have gotten significantly richer while the working and middle class have seen their salaries stagnate or go down (in real terms, adjusted for inflation). It amazes me that a country that 40 years ago could put a man on the moon and today can find the resources to fight two wars far from our shores still can’t find a way to get health care to those who most need it. 

Mission of Mercy, and organizations like it, are providing the social safety net for more and more of our citizens. 

There are more photos from the Mission of Mercy clinic in my archive and available from ZUMA Press.