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“Better for Being with You”: A Philosophy of Care by Bernadette Kenny with Tauna Gulley

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Sister Bernie Kenny, a nurse practitioner with the Medical Missionaries of Mary, arrived in Appalachia in 1978 to work with Project Health in Dickinson County, Virginia. In 1980 she created the Health Wagon that took a re-fitted recreation vehicle from St. Mary’s Hospital in Norton, Virginia, to make house calls in the surrounding region. After twenty-five years, the Health Wagon became its own organization. Today it has clinics in Clintwood and in Wise and has four mobile van units, a staff of about a dozen, including a dentist, and an annual budget of over a million dollars. It makes monthly stops in nine communities in Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott and Wise Counties. It accepts donations, but does not charge for its services. This book, as the sub-title makes clear, is mostly about her philosophy of care. It includes testimonials by her patients and co-workers.   The author, Sister Bernie Kenny, was born in 1938 and grew up in a Boston area family of Irish immigrant parents. Her father was a factory worker, and they did not own a car. After joining the Medical Missionaries of Mary, she worked in Ireland, Tanzania, Ethiopia and California before coming to Appalachia.

Washington, D. C.: Pacem in Terris Press, 2019. 156 pages with a Foreword by Adriana Trigiani and a Bibliography. Trade paperback.