Charlotte Maxwell Clinic: Health, Hope and Healing
“Magical, cheery, an oasis of peace!” These are just a few of the words that clients use to describe the unique and caring wellness sanctuary known as Charlotte Maxwell Clinic (CMC).
For 31 years, the Oakland-based nonprofit has provided free access to compassionate, integrative care for thousands of San Francisco Bay Area low-income women with cancer. Inspired by the vision of Ms. Charlotte Maxwell, a progressive public health advocate who recognized the importance of combining complementary therapies with conventional cancer treatment.
CMC was founded to provide an equitable opportunity for low-income women to achieve the highest attainable health during their cancer journey. Complementary therapies are not eligible for public or private insurance reimbursements and access is largely cost prohibitive for the women CMC serves.
CMC carries out its mission with a small staff and large pool of dedicated volunteers providing a variety of direct treatments and program support, as well as loyal corporate partners, like Mayway. Donated herbal medicine plays such an important role in helping clients restore their body’s balance, strength and healing capacity before, during and after conventional treatments.
CMC focused on steadily rebuilding its operation this year which started with the filling of two critical positions early on that had become vacant during the pandemic. CMC welcomed doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and licensed acupuncturist, Nadia Moredo, as Clinic Manager, and marketing and community researcher, Lisa Hartfield, as Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager. The clinic team also includes Senior Client Services Specialist, Joyce van Ginkel, and Latina Liaison and Program Specialist, Berenice Fuentes-Juarez. Working under the direction of Medical Director, Dr. Mary Lynn Morales, DAIM, the team has increased the number of new client intakes and orientations, implemented a new texting service to support scheduling client appointments, revised clinic policies and procedures, cross-trained staff to run clinic shifts, and recruited and trained several new volunteers bringing diverse skill sets.
Volunteers are the heart of CMC’s work, helping to create a unique and special place for respite and healing for low-income, underserved and immigrant women who are also battling cancer. Dozens of licensed and certificated practitioners provide direct, compassionate care including acupuncture, bodywork, herbal medicine, homeopathy, energy healing, movement therapy, and nutrition consultation. Program support volunteers drive clients to and from clinic appointments, coordinate shifts, provide language interpretation, prepare and deliver healthy food, take photos, and spread the word about CMC services.
“After 5 surgeries and a colostomy bag, I found Charlotte Maxwell Clinic. Wonderful people gave me their attention and support. My acupuncture sessions were beautiful. I started taking Chinese herbs which I do believe saved my life.” 17-year CMC client and colon cancer survivor
And CMC couldn’t have done it without the dedication of long-time partners. “Mayway, we are deeply grateful to have your partnership and generosity in our mission to alleviate suffering and improve health outcomes and quality of life for vulnerable women in our community.” Melbra Watts, CMC Executive Director
For a woman who may be dealing with the impact of cancer and fears that integrative care is beyond her means, Charlotte Maxwell Clinic is a beacon of hope. A brochure of services provides details of what CMC offers and how to become a client. And for those who would like to join CMC’s volunteer community, the door is always open.
CMC could not touch so many vulnerable women throughout the San Francisco Bay Area were it not for the generosity of individual donors and foundations that understand the importance of what they offer to women who would otherwise be unable to afford the life-sustaining integrative treatments CMC provides. To support their mission, you can make a tax-deductible donation to their Giving Tuesday/End-of-Year campaign. You may also text “CMCCares” to (510) 694-0477; mail a check to: Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, 411 30th Street, STE 508, Oakland, CA 94609; donate cryptocurrency; or call CMC at (510) 601-7660 ext. 224 with any questions.