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Clarkston Community Health Center

Clarkston, GA, USA

Partners A-E

Clarkston Community Health Center (Clarkston, GA, USA)

Mission & Background of Organization, including populations served:

The mission of Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC) is to establish a state-of-the-art, culturally and linguistically competent primary and preventive healthcare facility to provide quality, affordable, accessible and comprehensive health care services to the residents of Clarkston, Georgia and surrounding areas, including DeKalb and neighboring counties. CCHC, founded in 2013, is a non-profit clinic that provides a patient-centered medical home for low-income residents. In February 2015, CCHC began providing a continuum of care that is culturally and linguistically sensitive for the diverse population of Clarkston. Our services include health screenings, preventive/primary, mental and dental healthcare for the refugee, indigent, underinsured and uninsured population of the Clarkston and surrounding area communities. Due to a recent influx of refugees and indigent individuals and families into the Clarkston area, there is limited access to high quality medical care. Our population is diverse and poor. Between 2009 and 2013, the poverty rate in Clarkston doubled from 16% to 32%. Among foreign-born residents, the poverty rate rises to an astonishing 56%. 1 in 2 of every child in Clarkston lives below the poverty line. CCHC provides free "state of the art" healthcare services in the Clarkston area to low-income and refugee residents. The patients seeking services at the Clarkston Community Health Center are those individuals who have fallen through the gap in Georgia. They are uninsured and low-income, suffering from generational poverty or limited English proficiency. CCHC offers free, culturally competent and linguistically appropriate medical, dental and mental healthcare within walking distance for Clarkston residents. Without CCHC, the vast majority of our patients would not seek nor receive preventative medical, dental or mental healthcare. CCHC services help these families avoid emergency room visits, manage chronic conditions, understand their health and nutrition and seek professional services to improve their overall health.

Clarkston Georgia is a major refugee resettlement area located just outside of the city of Atlanta. Refugee resettlement activity in this area has grown rapidly since the late 1980s due to its close location to a major city, access to the public transportation (MARTA), and an abundance of affordable housing. According to the 2000 census, the foreign born population hails from over 50 countries (spanning 6 continents) within this 1.1 square mile enclave, leading TIME magazine to refer to Clarkston as the “most diverse square mile in America”. In 2009, the foreign born population of this area was estimated to be 31.8% compared to the State of Georgia average of 7.1%. Poverty resulting from unemployment/underemployment is a major challenge in this culturally and linguistically diverse area. 75% of Clarkston’s population is either African-American or recently arrived refugee. Between 2009 and 2013, the poverty rate in Clarkston doubled from 16% to 32%. Among foreign-born residents, the poverty rate rises to an astonishing 56%. 1 in 2 of every child in Clarkston lives below the poverty line. Not surprisingly, Georgia has an uninsured rate comparable to our high poverty rate. Georgia ranks 7th in the nation in poverty and 6th in the nation in uninsured individuals. Research is clear that uninsured populations have the greatest health disparities.

“Racial and ethnic minorities make up roughly one-third of Georgia’s population, yet their disease burden is significantly higher. Georgia has well documented health disparities in cultural competence, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, stroke and HIV/AIDS.” Georgia Health Equity Initiative: Health Disparities Report 2008 A County-Level Look at Health Outcomes for Minorities in Georgia, Georgia Department of Community Health’s Office of Health Improvement and the Minority Health Advisory Council 

Accessing Care in Clarkston, Georgia: Although Clarkston residents have access to care at large medical facilities, it has historically been overlooked for primary care due to the area’s high level of uninsured/underinsured patients and poverty levels. Although, there are three private or group physician practices and two dental practices within Clarkston; out-of-pocket costs and limited or no linguistic and cultural understanding constitute a barrier to care for most community members. Safety-net health care options for this area include Oakhurst Medical Center (an FQHC); Grady Health System; Emory Medical System; and DeKalb Medical Physicians care clinic. Although most of these are located less than 20 miles from Clarkston, transportation and cultural/linguistic competency still constitute a huge barrier to care. In 2010, FQHCs serving the area were only able to penetrate approximately 6% of the total population; this includes 10% of low-income population.

Limited access to preventative and primary care results in a high rate of avoidable emergency room (ER) visits from the Clarkston area. The Georgia Department of Public Health (OASIS Mapping Tool) classifies the Clarkston area as a location with one of the highest number of emergency room (ER) visits paid for by Medicaid from 2007-09. Without an option like CCHC the indigent, uninsured and underinsured members of Clarkston and surrounding communities will turn to emergency rooms of DeKalb Medical and Grady Hospital. A key component of CCHC’s medical home objective is diversion of these patients from emergency departments of local area hospitals to community-based clinics like CCHC. CCHC seeks out collaborative partnerships with local medical groups, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that interface with children, pregnant women, and those needing primary care, dental
and mental health services. We work with our collaborative partners by pooling resources, and developing consistent, holistic health initiatives to pursue a common vision and mission to integrate coordinated patient-centered healthcare services.


Increase access

Currently, CCHC offers services on Sundays in a central location in downtown Clarkston. In our 16 months of providing services, we know that once per week is insufficient to provide the necessary care in this diverse and economically struggling community. In 2017, our goal is to add staff (a Physician’s
Assistant or Nurse Practitioner) to increase our clinic hours and the number of patients we serve. This funding will allow CCHC to hire a part-time Nurse Practitioner that will allow us to manage and operate additional weekday hours for our clinic. These additional days/hours will enable CCHC to increase the number of clients we serve. Currently, CCHC serves approximately 400 unique individuals every year. Additional staffing will allow us to increase this number by 20% to 25% in 2017.


Improve delivery

Offering clinic services on additional days beyond Sunday will enable CCHC to reach a population that has been unable to access our services. Many Clarkston residents are employed in carpet or chicken factories. They face long commutes and 2nd and 3rd shift work. For some residents, our Sunday hours conflict with their work schedule and they are unable to utilize our services. For these residents, opening CCHC during the weekday will enable them to receive services.


Impact outreach

Within the Clarkston community, word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing. As CCHC begins to serve more residents, word will spread that our clinic offers culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, state-of-the-art health care for low-income and uninsured people. This grant will help CCHC increase our reach within the diverse and economically struggling community. 2017 will be an important building year for our clinic. The addition of paid health care staff will greatly increase our ability to serve the medical, dental and mental healthcare needs of every uninsured person living in or around Clarkston, Georgia.



Clarkston, GA, USA


Clarkston Health



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