Healthcare without barriers

Published 10:38 am Monday, October 26, 2015

UNION – In an attempt to promote healthier, more productive lifestyles in the region, Roanoke-Chowan Community College has teamed with the Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center on a new health initiative that will begin next week at the school: a mobile health care clinic on a trial basis.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol screenings will be available to students and staff in the RCCC Freeland Building’s old Weight Room, Room 130.

The opening will begin after the college holds its annual Breast Cancer Luncheon at the site at 11 a.m.

The students and staffers will also be able to take advantage of referrals to the RCCHC’s Ahoskie Comprehensive Care for lab work and physicals. They will also be alerted to notification of prompt care as well as health maintenance care.

“This is a great partnership designed to provide our employees, students, and their families, convenient access to quality affordable health care and to help decrease some of the major medical conditions plaguing many in our community, especially men of color,” said RCCC president Dr. Michael Elam.

Elam says while the clinic will initially serve the faculty, staff, and students of the college, no one will be denied services. After an initial trial period the plan is to expand services to the general public.

“Often times there are barriers to getting to where a primary care provider may be and RCCHC’s Board and team have been asking the question, ‘What do we need to do actively if we truly want to improve the health status of our friends, family and neighbors’,” said Health Center CEO Kim Schwartz. “We are asking our partners and community the same question and one of the answers is to go where folks already are gathering.”

After study and assessment, an alliance with another group that had also been exploring health care expansion was formed.

“Roanoke Chowan Community College is one of those places we identified as an ideal gathering place and we are very excited to have such an enthusiastic partner,” Schwartz added.

Schwartz said Kate Brown, Family Nurse Practitioner at RCCHC, will be the primary care provider offering basic health care services such as treating minor illnesses, basic physical exams and screenings. There will be other members of the RCCHC team assisting with connecting students and staff with the right resources as well; and she echoed Elam’s belief that expansion in the future would stretch beyond the college.

“We will start out offering primary care services to students and staff,” Schwartz concluded, “with future plans being to expand to the larger community as needed.”