Maria Shriver and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger team up at CSULB

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger held a woman’s hand as she received numbing shots in her mouth before her wisdom teeth were pulled out at the Walter Pyramid on Saturday.

“I hate needles; so it was hard to watch,” Schwarzenegger said.

The woman had no insurance, and had not visited a dentist in more than 15 years. That ended on Saturday when she got the medical attention she needed, along with compassion from the actor-turned-governor.

Schwarzenegger accompanied his wife, first lady Maria Shriver, to visit Modern House Call for Women. It was a weekend-long free health care and financial services clinic at Cal State Long Beach.

“We’re in an economic downturn right now,” Schwarzenegger said. “We will not turn our back on the community that needs our help.”

The service, Modern House Call to Women, is headed by Shriver and geared toward women, offering free services such as dental, medical, eye exams, mammograms, immunizations, pap smears and several others.

Financial services are also being offered to women to help them understand finances, learn money-saving skills and open bank accounts.

Shriver said she is hoping the event at CSULB is only the beginning of assisting the needy.

“The services offered are unique to women, but the sky’s the limit,” she said. “We’re hoping this event has been a model to the rest of the country.”

Teresa Torrance, who visited the clinic Friday, said she was there to get dental work done.

“It’s pretty nice,” she said. “It’s a nice way for people who don’t have insurance to get something done.”

Although the event was catered to women, men were accepted as well. The service ran from Friday through Sunday.

“We are not turning away men,” said Natalie Nevins, medical director of the event. “These patients need us, especially the uninsured, and we have something that we can offer to them.”

Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, Kim Belshe, also made an appearance and unveiled a rebranding of the state’s food stamp program, which will now be called Cal Fresh.

“Nearly one million people in L.A. County benefit from food stamps,” Belshe said. “We created a new name and brand; focused on nutrition and better health.”

The governor and California’s first lady showed appreciation to the event’s volunteers when they toured the Pyramid. At one point, both took turns hugging a female worker at the event.

In reference to the kindness of the event’s volunteers, Schwarzenegger said, “I’ve seen lots of sugar here.”

Lawyer Pauline Nguyen flew from northern California to volunteer on Saturday and Sunday.

She said, “It’s humbling to see the volunteer and professional community come together to give the treatment women deserve.”

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