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Charles Wallace: “By partnering with RESULTS, I’m opening doors”
“Poverty breeds many diseases,” says Dr. Charles Wallace, manager of the Tuberculosis Services Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Service. “TB is definitely one of them and it’s so easy to get. People are dying as a result of conditions that are curable.”
Charles isn’t talking about tuberculosis (TB) in poor countries, but right here in the U.S., where the confluence of poverty and a broken health care system leave people, especially minorities, vulnerable. “People who are poor tend to wait longer to see a doctor, and when they do, the quality of care they receive often isn’t the best. There’s a massive pool of poverty-ridden folks who seem to go unrecognized by our health care system. These people don’t know how to navigate the system or pay for it.”
Charles began collaborating with RESULTS in 1997, when RESULTS activist Eloise Sutherland contacted him for TB statistics. Deeply aware of how easily infectious diseases like TB cross borders, he quickly grasped the power of ordinary citizens to generate solutions to this challenge — and other poverty issues — by engaging their legislators. In the years since, Wallace has been an invaluable resource and an outstanding partner for RESULTS/REF.
He often joins RESULTS activists when they meet with members of Congress. “We make a great team,” says Eloise. “An expert from Texas’ home state presenting facts alongside dedicated citizens from the district can’t help but get a legislator’s attention. Besides, he’s fun. He always has a bright smile and a jovial laugh.”
Charles is also passionate about the partnership. “My history is doing as much as I can for the underserved who have been disenfranchised. That’s what RESULTS does — opens doors for people who would not be able get through that door otherwise. We have to stand together to make a difference in the lives of all people around the world. We are the only ones who are going to make a difference.”