Health care for women and children is at the heart of United Methodist Women today, and has been since the organization was founded in the 1800’s. In 1869, Dr. Clara Swain was sent to Bareilly, India, to provide quality medical care to women. She has been called the "pioneer woman physician in India,” as well as the "first fully accredited woman physician ever sent out by any missionary society into any part of the non-Christian world."
Our foremothers made the choice to act to save women’s lives. They chose to build hospitals and clinics, to train women and girls to serve as doctors and nurses, and to send missionaries to initiate the work.
Today, United Methodist Women continues to support the health and family needs of women and children around the globe. Women are still dying in childbirth, children continue to die from preventable diseases, and many communities have no access to healthcare. From Latin America to Africa to Asia, United Methodist Women works with women worldwide to address:
In the U.S., a number of community centers in our network of national mission institutions provide maternal health services to improve access to care for underserved populations. Services include:
Many of our deaconesses and home missioners live their calling to ministries of love, justice and service by working as health care professionals. They work as: