Sarah Buttrey


As Interviewed by Veena Mishra, March 10, 2019

Sarah Buttrey: In Her Own Words

My name is Sarah Buttrey, and my job is at El Buen Samaritano, [an] Episcopal clinic, it’s an Episcopal community center. Most of our patients have no insurance. In order to get insurance through the MAP Program, you have to make less than or up to fifty percent of the federal poverty level, which is very, very little. People will often make at least up to a hundred percent of poverty, they won’t be able to qualify for MAP and they can receive our services.

I really was interested in trying to affect bigger change, so I decided I would go into medicine. I just like taking care of people who have less access to resources who need good care. Providing people healthcare allows them to have a more stable life, period. You can’t access those things if your health is in poor shape, [and] getting everything else done is really hard. I am somebody who believes that basic healthcare is a human right that we are all deserving of. And I do think that there are very good things to be said about the ways some of the processes work in the countries who do have nationalized healthcare.

I have helped some in writing some of the text of and editing some of a book called Where There Is No Doctor. And, it’s very literally a health guide for places where there is no doctor. It’s very simple, drawings and language about “when you have this, you can try this”. It’s accessible to people who really do live in the sticks. A lot of communities use it for training their community health workers. And, they have more recently created Where Women Have No Doctor. Since then, they have developed something called Health Actions For Women which is almost a training the trainer book for Where Women Have No Doctor.

I feel like, on the one hand, there’s all kinds of super exciting things that are happening because of the advances in technology. People with resources will get all kinds of fancy, modern care, and some people will be able to afford less and less. I worry about that.