Dr. Mylene Rucker has a generous spirit. When the daughter of an employee was diagnosed with leukemia, Rucker offered to host a yard sale in the parking lot of her wellness center in Visalia. This fundraiser on Nov. 15 also included a bounce house, and pizza and tacos were sold. They raised $1,500. “It was almost like a little fair,” Rucker said. “A lot of my patients are very giving.”
Four times a year, Rucker, a family practice physician, sets up a free health care screening clinic in Allensworth where she treats mostly farmworkers. She takes a staff of two to three medical assistants, and her son, Kweku Middleton, helps move equipment.They see about 15 patients each visit.
“I see myself as a community physician,” she said. “You go out and reach the community and make the world a better place to live.” Each time she visits Allensworth, it costs her $1,000. “Nobody pays me,” she said. “Not even a penny.” In Allensworth, she has diagnosed some cancers and a lot of diabetes. “Many didn’t know they had it,” she said.
“I’m a very community-oriented person,” she said. “I had a hard time myself.” She raised her son and daughter as a single mother. She left her alcoholic husband in Chicago and moved back to Los Angeles with two children and two 6-foot lockers. During an economic recession in the late 1970s, she couldn’t find work. So she took advantage of a government program that paid for her child care and purchased her uniforms while she studied to become a physician assistant at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.