"The Box" - An innovative expression of functional art and activism.
Dr. Maggie Carpenter, founder of Go Doc Go, and Artist Ryan Cronin have found a beautiful intersection between art and medicine that empowers women, raises cervical cancer awareness, and challenges our current approach to healthcare in the United States. Maggie and Ryan first began working with one another through Cronin’s charitable fund 12 Months of Giving. The Fund supports the work of not for profits whose mission is to be agents of change, one of the key missions behind Go Doc Go’s work.
For the past five years Go Doc Go has focused its efforts on preventing cervical cancer in low and middle-income countries, but when the political climate in the United States shifted and the current administration put into motion an attack on women’s healthcare, Dr. Carpenter approached Cronin about collaborating to take action here in the States. Through a series of sit-downs the two conceived the idea of “The Box;” a public art piece that also acts as a privacy booth for women to self-swab a sample for HPV testing, allowing women to take their healthcare into their own hands. Traditionally cervical cancer screening has been done with a pap smear which required a doctor’s visit. Now HPV testing is an established alternative to pap smear screening in women 30-65. Studies have shown that women are capable of self-collecting their samples and the art installation will provide a safe, private place for women to do so.
Over the last twenty years as a physician, Dr. Carpenter has witnessed the multitude of barriers to health care; from the wall-like booths and windows on walking into a doctor’s office, to the long waits for both an appointment and in the provider’s office, it is a struggle for anyone to practice self-care. Cronin embraced the opportunity to use art to make healthcare more accessible/inviting by intersecting the two.
Dr. Carpenter (Executive Director) and Ingrid Frengle-Burke, FNP (Assistant Director) of Go Doc Go, will be onsite on January 25th, assisting women. There is no exam necessary! They will be contacting women by phone to given them their results. The tests are being processed by Bio-Reference Laboratories at a reduced cost which will be paid by Go Doc Go if women do not have insurance. Any women with abnormal results will be referred for further evaluation locally.
The Old Stone House will be the first of many showings of the Art installation raising awareness about cervical cancer, challenging traditional approaches to healthcare, and preventing it by diagnosing HPV before it has time to become cancer. They invite the public to a part of this ground breaking approach to healthcare.