The NHVRC first saw Ann’s story in a compilation of information on home visiting’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to the Association of State and Tribal Home Visiting Initiatives for collecting that information and to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Nurse-Family Partnership for letting us share Ann’s story.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Nurse-Family Partnership program serves eligible mothers in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Due to COVID-19, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians closed all non-essential operations to protect the health and safety of its people and workforce. However, the program’s Nurse Home Visitors continued to serve their clients through telehealth.

This may sound like an easy task to make a phone call, but with the beauty of the mountains comes its challenges. Nurse Home Visitor Ann Mehaffey has no cell service at her home or anywhere on her property. To make her calls, she drives a few miles to an abandoned house site on the side of the road. She sits alone for hours, with the comfort of her little dog, to call and text her clients.

Ann receives lots of strange looks from curious neighbors and has missed several calls, but she doesn’t quit. This is the heart of Nurse-Family Partnership: always being there for those in need and never giving up!