Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Perhaps one of the heaviest blows dealt this year was the loss of Betty Cockrum, who served 15 years as CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. 

Cockrum passed away at home on May 17, 2020 at age 67. Cockrum was not only a leader in the Planned Parenthood family, but also a lifelong advocate for justice.  Before her CEO role at PPINK, she served as the state budget director and head of the Department of Administration for former Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon (D), and as Bloomington’s city controller after working for the Bloomington Redevelopment Department. 
 
Throughout her life, professionally and personally, Cockrum did everything she could to stand up for the rights of women and minorities. She was a champion of reproductive health care and fought countless battles to retain and restore access. 
To read PPGNHI and PPINK CEO Chris Charbonneau’s heartfelt eulogy for Cockrum, please visit this link.

To continue Cockrum’s legacy, Planned Parenthood has been standing up for reproductive health and rights and fighting to retain access in Indiana. 
 
One of the ways this mission is served is by focusing reproductive health care access where it is most needed and can serve the most people - expanding our health centers in some areas and streamlining them in others. 
 
Late last year, a new health center in New Albany opened to replace the old. The new health center allows providers to serve a much greater patient volume and to see patients five days a week. The new location is more centrally located in New Albany, as well. 

“We’ve been seeing a large volume of patients despite the pandemic,” said health center manager Christi Cross. She added that the “patients here demonstrate a great need,” and that many “have no insurance and are self-pay.” 
 
Cross said that the extra space in the new health center has been crucial for social distancing, and that it was a “small boon” that the move was made before the pandemic hit. “The clinic we were working in before was tiny. We never could have seen the number of patients we’re seeing now, safely.” 
 
To further increase the range and number of patients that can be seen, Planned Parenthood consolidated the Elkhart clinic with Mishawaka. 
 
Heather Anderson, Health Center Manager for the Mishawaka clinic, explained, “This consolidation cuts out a lot of runaround to different clinics that offer different services.” 
 
And, it is more convenient for patients that the clinic is open five days a week.  
  
“People have different days off that might not line up, or they might forget if we have special hours. Being open on regular weekdays makes it easier for patients to access care,” Anderson added.   

Anderson reported that there has been an increase in patient volume since the consolidation, and that most do not consider the loss of the old Elkhart location to be an inconvenience.  

“Mishawaka has seen an increase in patient volume from the Elkhart area. South Bend, Mishawaka, and Elkhart are very close to one another. It is not uncommon for someone to work in Elkhart and live in a surrounding area or vice versa, so they could potentially ‘be in the area of the clinic’ on their travels to or from work or for any trip. The Mishawaka clinic is also on the bus line, and there is bus service that travels between the ‘Michiana’ area,” she said. 

In Fort Wayne, Planned Parenthood’s presence has been re-established after violent threats forced the health center to close in 2018. 
 
Local news tried to spin the closing as the result of low patient numbers, saying that the people of Fort Wayne had no use for Planned Parenthood. They couldn’t have been more wrong: following the closing, dozens of protestors rallied in Fort Wayne in favor of reproductive rights – many carrying signs that read “I stand with Planned Parenthood.” The Fort Wayne community spoke out in favor of Planned Parenthood’s work, and against the harassment tactics used by our most extreme opponents. 
 
Though we could not avoid the closing, as the safety and well-being of our patients, staff, and community must come first, Planned Parenthood worked to turn this setback into an opportunity. 
 
After temporarily closing, Planned Parenthood re-opened at a new location – 2930 Lake Avenue –with improved facilities, as well as enhanced design and security. The clinic officially opened its doors to patients Sept. 3, 2019. Fort Wayne supporters turned out en masse to celebrate the grand opening. 
 
It’s now been over a year since the re-opening of the Fort Wayne health center.  
 
Overall, staff report that the health center is running smoothly, the security measures have made a significant difference in the safety and well-being for staff and patients, and the extra space is extremely helpful during a time when social distancing is necessary. 
 
Patients overwhelmingly cite the friendliness and knowledge of the staff at the Fort Wayne health center. In fact, over 70% of recent patient reviews mention the knowledge level of their clinician. 
 
One patient said of her experience, “I was told so much false information at my other health care providers, but I learned so much from the amazing doctor here. I am just blown away by how caring, intelligent and informed my doctor was.” 
 
“I got educated on things that I THOUGHT I knew... This place is greatly needed and appreciated!” said another. 
 
Health centers like Fort Wayne rely on community support to keep going.  
 
You can support health centers like New Albany, Mishawaka and Fort Wayne – or any Planned Parenthood health center – by donating with this link

Tags: Indiana