Meet the Newest Team Members at Knox-Winamac Community Health Center
Writer / Lois Tomaszewski
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
Access to quality health care is an important asset for a community. Three new additions to the medical team at Knox-Winamac Community Health Center (KWCHC) means the community has additional options when it comes to their health and wellness.
Two nurse practitioners, Renae Atkins and Roger Farris, are ready to meet patients at the clinic. A third medical professional, Beverly Kaunda, is a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. She rounds out the three most recent hires for the health center.
Atkins is a longtime resident of Plymouth. A family nurse practitioner for 11 years, she has previous experience in critical care, trauma, emergency and surgery.
In family practice, health professionals see patients of all ages. Atkins describes the range as being from infants to seniors.
“Each age has a unique individual need and I enjoy providing thorough care based on their needs,” she says.
A career in medicine appealed to Atkins because it mirrors her caring nature. She says she genuinely cares about others and wants to distinguish herself in her profession as a practitioner who is trustworthy and provides quality care.
“This is not just a job for me, it’s a passion,” she says. “I love each one of my patients and because of this passion I am able to make a difference in the lives of others. I strive to be the best I can, which in turn will provide the best care to my patients.”
Farris entered the medical field because he always had a desire to help people. He was also following in his mother’s footsteps. She is also a nurse.
He earned his nursing degrees from Purdue University Northwest and completed his master’s degree in nursing at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, in 2020.
“I worked in the hospital on a medical-surgical unit and in the emergency department as a nurse,” Farris says. “As a nurse practitioner I started in home health. I have gained experience with all age groups working in the emergency department and enjoy working with people of all ages.”
He is a native of Knox and has a lot of family from Starke County. He currently lives in Valparaiso.
Farris says he is “looking forward to helping and providing care for the people of this community. Helping people achieve the best health they can is very fulfilling.”
Kaunda is also on board and seeing patients at KWCHC.
Atkins says the reputation and commitment to excellence she observes at the health center were pivotal to her joining the team.
“I am inspired to be working for a place that provides stellar care to the community,” Atkins says. “With a team like KWCHC health care will excel in this community, and I will be part of the team that conquers the needs of the patients, making a healthier tomorrow.”
Farris expresses a similar opinion.
“I think the teamwork with everyone at the office inspires and encourages me,” he says. “We all work together to help people of this community be the best they can be.”
The KWCHC mission as stated on the official website is “to provide quality, primary health-care services, accessible to persons in our community including the medically underinsured and uninsured.” It was founded by community leaders in 2006 and designated in 2010 as a federally qualified health center.
The staff provides primary and preventative care, and also offers physicals for wellness, department of transportation, and sports needs. The team also provides laboratory services and children’s vaccination programs, and addresses behavioral health concerns.
The clinic is located at 1002 Edgewood Drive in Knox. To make an appointment with Atkins, Farris, Kaunda or another practitioner, call 574-772-6030. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.