By Brigid Morrissey

The Healing Place, wouldn’t be able to function without volunteers like Dr. Tina Simpson. In 2015 she began volunteering as a physician in the women’s clinic, and as the first gynecologist to volunteer at The Healing Place, set a plan in motion that resulted in a gynecology clinic. Her impact has led to measurable results, but Tina advocates for the women who have graduated from the program and stay to help other women making the same lifestyle choices. “I have been so impressed with the women in recovery teaching women in recovery,” she says. “The graduates stay to give back, and that peer relationship is key. They can hear from women who totally get it. They’re not talking at them, but with them. I am able to gain more from these women than what I can provide for them.”

The Healing Place mission is to help women and men with drug and alcohol addiction. Shame is one emotion that often plagues her patients. A guilty conscience remains the constant companion of addiction and is the sole roadblock preventing women from getting proper care, particularly in gynecology. “A lot of the women are mothers; they use during pregnancy. They don’t really want to talk about it unless you ask them directly. It goes to show that with this disease, women abandon everything that seems to be the right thing to do. They can’t see past their addiction.”

The Healing Place’s success rate, which ranks five times above the national average in recovery facilities, is an impressive statistic, and 75 percent of its alumni remain sober after their first year. The secret? Recognizing the individual struggling with the disease and using social interaction through its alumni to attack the issue head-on.

There are many niches at The Healing Place in which to get involved. Selena Coomer, manager of health services, is the best contact specific to the medical clinic, but you can also fill out a form through the website.

“Do something, anything. Whatever you’re passionate about, get involved with it and build a sense of community.” says Tina. Chances are, you or someone you know have a personal connection to the disease. “I don’t think people realize that The Healing Place is not just for homeless people. There is a wide variety of women. There are women in a range of professions, socioeconomic classes, and ages. It proves that this disease is no respecter of gender, race, or class. It affects all walks of life.”