Clarke Middle Health Center Receives GHFA Grant

In March of 2023, the Clarke Middle Health Center team received word that they were the recipients of the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance’s (GHFA) Community Health Grant worth $5,000.

The team will put the funds towards continuing the mission of the center—bringing low-cost health care to the students, faculty, staff, and parents of Clarke County School District (CCSD).

The Clarke Middle Health Center is a partnership with CCSD and the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership’s Athens Free Clinic. Medical Partnership faculty and students provide primary care to patients and work alongside staff, physicians, and students from the UGA School of Law, UGA’s Mary Frances Early College of Education, the ASPIRE Clinic at the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The center held a ribbon cutting ceremony in November of 2022 to officially open the center to the community, and since the soft opening on September 7, 2022, the center has held over 300 primary care visits valued over $66,000.

Seventy-eight percent of the patients at the center have been students, 17 percent of patients have been CCSD staff members, and five percent of patients served have been family members of students.

Dr. Suzanne Lester, director of the Athens Free Clinic, is excited about what the center has already done for the community and what it will do in the future.

“It is such a great university-community partnership. The medical students are seen as an asset to the community, and their interactions with the patients are going to have an indelible impact on how the medical students approach all patients in the future,” Lester said. “We are teaching medical students to consider the full context of the patient, remove barriers and improve health outcomes. It’s going well, and now I’m looking for ways to expand our impact.”

The $5,000 from GHFA is the center’s second grant—the center received a $94,000 UGA Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant in 2022 to assist with the nine-month pilot phase.

Dr. Kate Meixner puts together a nebulizer for a patient before an appointment at the Clarke Middle Health Center.

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