As health infrastructure shrinks, a daughter of the Delta cares for her community

To reach Gunnison, Mississippi, from Cleveland, the quickest path – though not the route with the best-paved streets – takes you off Highway 8, down miles of narrow roads slicing through some of the most fertile land on earth. In early December, the fields are still but not empty. Silvery water pools in gashes in the dirt, and cardinals settle on shoots of electric green gleaming in the gray light of winter. When you reach Highway 1, you’ve arrived in Gunnison, with a population of 425 and only two businesses: a gas station and Healthy Living Family Medical Clinic, opened by Gunnison native Wyconda Thomas in 2019. The squat brick building is decorated for the season, with a wreath on the door and letters out front spelling “Merry Christmas.” When Thomas decided to open her own practice, she chose the place where she saw the greatest need, which also happened to be the community that raised her.

© 2016 Mississippi Health Advocacy Program