The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ 12th Street Health and Wellness Center celebrated a financial shot in the arm Tuesday. The clinic received over $80,000 to increase its services in Little Rock's 12th Street Corridor.
Currently open two nights a week, the student-run clinic offers free medical and dental services.
UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn hails the nearly two-year old clinic as a model medical teaching facility and community health provider.
"This neighborhood wellness center is, we think, a great way to engage with the community to identify the greatest health needs and to pull our resources together to address those needs. It’s engaging our students across all of our colleges in a volunteer capacity. It’s been a wonderful initiative," Rahn said.
He credits Dr. Jeannie Heard, provost at UAMS, and Dr. Stephanie Gardner, dean of the College and Pharmacy, as the driving forces behind the success of the facility. Heard, in turn, credits the students.
"The best part of this is that it’s student led. You let students be in charge, they’ll do it right," Heard said.
The clinic is situated between two other recent additions designed to benefit the community: the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and a new Little Rock Police substation.
The Health Center’s Director, Dr. Lanita White, is excited about the unique strategy her facility uses toward health care in the city's Promise Neighborhood.
"Our whole point in this, besides provide great care for the community, is to help our students to learn about, from, and with each other, so we make them better health care professionals moving forward," White said. "We also practice a team-based approach here, so that we are making sure that we have more than one perspective on a patient’s case. And that just makes for better care and makes more holistic care."
Cora Housley, a 3rd year pharmacy student, is on the student board of the clinic and looks forward to her upcoming rotation.
"We’re a student-run clinic. We have advisors that are professional advisors, like Dr. White who’s our Director, but all of the activities and the clinic nights here are run by students."
Melissa Clark, on the other hand, completed her rotation last year and is now a Pharmacy Resident at the clinic. She appreciates the growth that has occurred in the past year.
"A year ago we didn’t have an audiology booth to do diagnostic tests and now we do. A year ago we didn’t have a dental area and now we do. We’re really close to getting that completely functional where we will be able to do teeth cleanings and extractions and restorations," Clark said.
Money for the improvements was allocated through the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District from the Arkansas General Improvement Fund.
Arkansas state legislators Joyce Elliot, Warwick Sabin, Frederick Love and Charles Armstrong were recognized at the event for their part in advocating for the funding.
Representative Sabin praised the clinic as a model of community collaboration, saying “I think the 12th Street Corridor neighborhood is a great example of what happens when the neighborhood pulls together and creates cooperative partnerships with a lot of different organizations, whether those are public agencies like the city, county, and state or whether those are private, non-profit organizations and churches.”
Senator Elliot, herself a resident in the Promise Neighborhood, appreciates the improvements as the latest in a series of moves designed to bolster a previously neglected area of the city.
"This gives us an opportunity to say something so positive about a neighborhood and a part of the city where you tend to hear just the negatives, and I really hope that people will pay more attention to the positive things that are going on as this is just one of them,” Elliot said.
Director White also hopes to be able to use additional money to expand the service hours of the clinic in the near future.