Marian Peters, PA-C

Marian Peters, PA-C, established the Community Care Clinic (CCC), a free clinic that focuses on the working poor who fall through the cracks of the health-care system. People who once used the emergency room as their primary care now have a dependable medical facility.

Peters originally got her PhD in physics from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was tenured at Appalachian State University where she taught from 1994-2007. During this time, she took a leave of absence to attend PA school. After completing the PA program in 2005, she went back to teaching but left the university in 2007 to focus effort on the CCC as it grew from being open 3 hours a week in 2006 to its current schedule of more than 40 hours a week.

“Why start a free clinic? I was volunteering at a local agency where I noticed that members of our community were having to decide between food, shelter, and health care. Something needed to be done. But I was a physics professor—would I be comfortable enough to take part in patient care myself? I grew up around a hospital because of my dad who was a hospital administrator in India where I grew up, so I spent time just hanging around Watauga Medical Center. I sat in waiting rooms and walked the halls. That seemed okay, so then I began volunteering in the ER. I discovered that I could and wanted to be around sick people,” Peters says.

Peters is the clinic director at the CCC where she provides patient care and oversees the clinic’s other staff and volunteer providers. The CCC provides services in primary care, mental health, neurology, physical therapy, gynecology and dermatology. With as many as 80 volunteers at the clinic, Peters says she is part of a great team.

“Marian, who takes little credit for the tireless hours of dedicated patient care, has treated thousands of patients, most with low-paying jobs who cannot afford even minimal insurance,” says colleague Alice Diane Price, PA-C.

In addition to the CCC, she also co-founded Partnership Uganda, a non-profit organization benefiting women and children through education, economic development, and improved health care in the village of Bulumagi.

Impact

“There are many patient stories that stand out. Like the first cancer diagnosis we made through the CCC - I’ll never forget getting the call from radiology,” says Peters. She finds the most satisfying part of her job is “fitting so many pieces together to create good patient care. Our community in Boone has been very supportive of the Community Care Clinic. We have a skeletal, but terrific staff. The amount of volunteer time and in-kind funding we receive from our community is humbling.”

The CCC has seen several thousand patients since it opened.