TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Guerda Johnson is a mother, a business owner, and a remarkable woman.
Her career in helping others gained her this title, but her journey along the way deserves mentioning. The Tyler resident is originally from Haiti.
“My father decided to send us to this country,” Johnson said,” because with the President at that time when I was in Haiti, that’s when the political unrest started.”
Her father realized Haiti was not a safe place for his children, so he sent Guerda and her brother to East Texas over 20 years ago for a better education and future. Johnson has always been determined, using that to become a nurse and then a nurse practitioner.
“I decided on that career – the whole nurse pathway as a whole, because as a nurse, we are able to help people and to be there for them at their lowest point,” she said.
Through her experience in the medical field, she realized there was an extreme need in the healthcare system.
“A lot of people, they are working citizens. They are working people. Their job doesn’t offer insurance,” Johnson said. “They don’t have money for every little thing that happens to them. Hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol. A lot of people end up at the emergency room.”
With this in mind, Johnson opened Smart Choice Medical Center – a medical avenue for non insured East Texans. At her clinic, anyone can come in, pay out of pocket, and receive good quality care. Guerda’s hard work is all to work towards one goal – to allow everyone a chance to receive healthcare.
“It’s important to me because I was one of those people when I first moved to this country,” Johnson said. “Even as far as recently where I didn’t have healthcare… I couldn’t afford healthcare.”
Johnson said her clinic is a passion project to not only give people their basic right of healthcare, but to talk and listen to the community. Listening is an important aspect of Smart Choice Medical Center because she says people want to be heard.
The nurse practitioner’s goal is to continue expanding all throughout the state and beyond.
“My vision is to see that we get to a point where healthcare is not a privilege,” said Guerda.
She hopes to open her clinic as a refuge where people can get healthcare and not be judged. She feels that with her journey, she has a powerful message to share.
“I have a story I can tell women: don’t stop, keep going. The strong is not the one that doesn’t fall. The strong is the one that falls, brush it off, get up, get back on the saddle, and keep going.”Guerda Johnson
Guerda Johnson says she sees herself as a woman of East Texas, and that in her eyes, “All women are remarkable.”