January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and according to Community Health Northwest Florida Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Sonja Allen, it is the perfect time to empower women to take charge of their health.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, but the good news is: You can lower your risk of cervical cancer by getting screened regularly, starting at age 21. The Pap test and the HPV test are screening tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early, but many women have put off important screenings while they navigated their families through some pretty trying times.
Sonja’s message for busy women who may have put off self-care is “Come on in!”
“We understand life happens,” she said. “We understand we’ve been through a pandemic. We understand that there are fears. We want you to come on in. There’s no judgment. We can still help you. We can still check you out and start you back on the right path, but we just need to see your face. We just really want to see you.”
It’s no surprise that Allen would gravitate to women’s care. Her mother had seven sisters.
“I have always just loved taking care of women, and a lot of that is attributed to my mom,” Allen said. “Even though she was younger when she had me, she would tell me, ‘You can be whatever you want to be. Independent women can do anything they want to, so you just go for it.’ ”
A Louisiana native, Allen began her career at a Grambling State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Georgia State in 2001. She earned her Master of Science [MSN] in Nursing Education from Drexel University in 2005. Allen continued her education, receiving a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2022, specializing in Women’s Health (WHNP) from the University of Alabama Birmingham.
Like so many of our providers, Sonja felt instantly at home at CHNWF. She had searched for a place where she could make a difference. Allen wanted to work with the underserved and uninsured population. As a nurse, she became frustrated and disheartening see people without insurance turned away.
“So when I saw Community Health Northwest Florida and was able to do part of my clinical hours for Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner here, I thought, ‘This is the place!’ ” she said. “These are my people. This is my community. This is what I want to do.”
Allen wants to extend a helping hand to any woman who may worry about coming in for important screenings.
“Our goal is to just get you in the building,” Allen said. “If you just come and let us see your face, we can dig back in your record, see when the last time you had one, or if you don’t know, we’ll go ahead and get you set on track.”
The goal at Community Health is to make healthcare easy, simple and accessible. We now offer two convenient locations in Pensacola and Milton dedicated 100 percent to women’s health.
In addition, some CHNWF primary care providers also offer certain (limited) women’s health services, including cervical cancer screenings.
Not sure if you’re due for a cervical cancer screening? Don’t know the next steps?
Ask your doctor OR simply give us a call today to get scheduled with a Women’s Health provider.
Putting it off due to the cost? Please don’t.
We offer a sliding fee scale for patients who qualify.
In Pensacola: 850.435.4352
In Milton: 850.981.9433