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Everyday Heroes: Paula Richardson

Top Notch Health Solutions

From starting out in the trunk of her car to setting up her first physical location, Paula Richardson’s mission to distribute rapid COVID-19 tests in south DeKalb rose out of her sense of care and love for a community she grew up in.

A Decatur native, Richardson, now a licensed nurse practitioner, started her journey as an ICU nurse at Emory University Hospital where she saw first-hand the disparities in access to COVID-19 testing and how new variants would impact Black and low-income residents.

Credit: Paula Richardson/Handout

Credit: Paula Richardson/Handout

Taking matters into her own hands in February 2021, Richardson utilized word-of-mouth to identify areas of need and her personal life savings to fund a dedicated mobile van. She put it in Providence Office Park at the corner of Wesley Chapel and Candler roads.

“At that time, so many people were telling me to set up a physical location in Decatur because there were no options for rapid testing there,” Richardson said. “I have had patients tell me that they were being told that a PCR test in Buckhead would cost them $400. For someone living off Candler Road right now, $400 is simply not an option.”

Seven months later, with the use of federal grant money to hire a full-time staff, Richardson was able to open up Top Notch Health Solutions and has since provided over 40,000 free rapid COVID-19 tests to Black residents in the greater Atlanta area.

Since the time of publishing, Richardson and TN Solutions has expanded from a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site to a holistic, multidimensional care facility and now operates as a health clinic partnering with five insurance coverage networks, providing wellness care ranging from gut health to weight management and offers medical spa services like non-surgical eye lift, hair loss and microneedling facial rejuvenation.

“It was all a part of the plan to expand,” Richardson said. “We’re still being received in the community as a trusted medical source, so our clientele is growing just as we are.”

And for Richardson, even in expansion, it all goes back to providing healthcare solutions with Black practitioners for Black communities.

“I chose the area for a reason,” Richardson said. “I want to continue to build on the relationships I have already created with the community and continue to provide care to my neighborhood.”


For more information at Top Notch Health Solutions, visit https://www.tnhealthsolutions.org/.


This place we call home is filled with ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary feats. Their selfless acts make this region so special – and they bring out the best in all of us. With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share their inspiring stories, celebrate their accomplishments, and offer ways that you can help.

Just as the 55 people we’re profiling can’t do it alone, nor can we. That’s why we worked closely with our partners to bring you this collection of uplifting stories.

We hope they leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle the busy new year that lies ahead. We hope they make you feel more connected to your community or to your neighbors.

And maybe, just maybe, they will motivate you to come up with your own small way to make a big difference in the lives of others.

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