THE HEALTH CARE CHAMPION
Executive Director, Women’s Health Center of West Virginia
Katie Quiñonez-Alonzo, though originally from California, feels most at home among West Virginia’s mountains. She moved to Cabell County with her mother and sister when she was just 11 years old. “The community feels unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced,” she says.
Quiñonez-Alonzo’s connection to the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia started before she was ever employed, when she had her own abortion at the clinic when she was 22. “The experience had a profound effect on me. From the receptionist to the lab medical assistant to the ultrasound tech, to the nurses and the physician in the procedure room and the nurse in the recovery room, I felt affirmed and supported every step of the way.”
She joined the WHC as its first development director in 2017 and became executive director in 2020 after her predecessor retired. “I knew firsthand how important abortion care was—I would not be the person I am today,” Quiñonez-Alonzo says. “It feels like my life’s mission to lead this clinic and help make sure our patients can decide if, when, and how they create their families.”
The West Virginia abortion ban passed in September 2022 directly affected the WHC. Quiñonez-Alonzo and her team chose to continue their focus on helping the community by looking into other needs they could help address. “We are working to launch a harm reduction program on Charleston’s West Side that will offer wound care, syringe disposal and pick up, naloxone training and distribution, and more,” Quiñonez-Alonzo says. In the meantime, WHC leadership worked on purchasing a separate medical facility in Mountain Maryland to open this fall, just across the West Virginia border, with its own staff. Quiñonez-Alonzo expects to see expansion of services there to match that of the West Virginia clinic and carry the mission forward.
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Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.