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New medical clinic opens in city

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Family Nurse Practitioner La Wanda A. Pulley, right, examines Ronald Davis on Thursday at Halo Hands Foundation Family Care Center.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A family nurse practitioner has opened up a medical clinic along West Raleigh Boulevard southwest of downtown.

La Wanda Pulley said the Halo Hands Foundation Family Care Center offers primary care and urgent care services and treats patients with disorders such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and lung problems.

Pulley also said she and her team treat walk-in patients who cannot get to a regular doctor or do not want to go to a hospital emergency room.

The clinic began seeing patients in January and Pulley’s door is open to people from every walk of life.

"I see 'em all — infants to geriatrics," Pulley said.

As for why she decided to open the location, she said, "I have worked at several facilities here in the area — and I wanted to do something to give back to the community."

She said someone told her about the location along West Raleigh Boulevard.

"And when I looked at it, it provided me with everything I needed, plus more," she said.

Additionally, the clinic is part of a nonprofit organization Pulley established in 2014 to focus on improving the economic status and the health and lifestyles of people in under-served communities.

She said overall, the vision is not only to provide medical services to the community but engage in outreach to youths.

She said she intends to engage in a program designed to help youths stay away from violence, understand alternative choices and give them an active voice in the community and their surroundings.

"It's something that we're organizing and hope to roll out by the time school ends. So it will be something for the summer for the kids," she said.

She also said a group of abused or battered women meet at the clinic once a month to talk with one another and plan activities.

How Pulley, 56, ended up working as a health professional is an interesting story.

Pulley is from Lawrenceville, Va., in the commonwealth’s Southside region and up the road from Lake Gaston.

Pulley earned a degree in mathematics and biology from the former Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville and went to work as an environmental coordinator for timber giant Georgia-Pacific.

She said after that she started a trucking company in Lawrence but she said after 9/11 and the 2007-08 burst of the housing bubble, she got out of the business and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"And I pretty much called myself retired," she said.

Her perspective in life changed after her son Tyesean Tillmon was struck by a car while riding a motorcycle.

She said after the insurance funding became depleted, she ended up spending her own money for her son’s care.

She said at the same time she saw injured young people in rehabilitation who lacked a support system.

"So I sort of, like, adopted a bunch of children that really, really weren't mine," she said.

And she said the nurse there told her, "You're beautiful with people. You make 'em smile. Your personality is so wonderful."

She said the nurse added, "You'd be a wonderful nurse."

Pulley decided to go into nursing. She earned an associate degree in nursing from Miami Dade College.

She traveled the nation from trauma center to trauma center before earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from South University in Savannah, Ga. Along the way in her career in health care, she also earned a master's degree in nursing from South University.

She ended up in the Rocky Mount area, met Dr. Kenneth Moore and worked as his nighttime supervisor in a hospital emergency department.

She said Moore encouraged her to go to back to school to become a nurse practitioner, and she did. A nurse practitioner is qualified to treat certain medical conditions without a doctor’s direct supervision.

Pulley went on to work for different organizations in the Rocky Mount area and in under-served communities.

"And this is just where I find home, this population," Pulley said.

As for the source of the Halo Hands name, Pulley said while she was in the formulating stages of the clinic, she worked with a group of federal inmates.

She said the inmates wanted to do an outreach program to warn youth offenders of the effects of their own crimes leading up to being imprisoned.

She said after she helped organize the program, the inmates told her she needed to go beyond the prisons by engaging in preventative efforts in the community.

She also said the inmates came up with the Halo Hands name and image and also said, "They told me I was a Godsend to them to help them organize and do the things that they were doing."

Halo Hands Foundation Family Care Center is at 1107 W. Raleigh Blvd. and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The clinic can be reached by phone at 252-210-3093 or at https://halohandsfoundation.org/

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