July 28, 2016

Community Health Centers: the Prescription for Healthy Living

HealthCore Clinic

HealthCore Clinic, Wichita, KS

As a community development financial institution that fosters primary care expansion and transformation in low-income communities, the Primary Care Development Corporation’s (PCDC) interests go beyond typical loan financing. When evaluating projects, we actively help providers explore and execute innovative strategies to promote population health. Although this frequently means expansion and/or integration of health services, our projects increasingly have included imaginative ways to meet the needs of specific patient groups, inside the health center and out.

Here are just a few examples of projects PCDC has financed coast-to-coast (and points in between) that have intrigued us with their creativity:

Motivating the community:
When visiting Los Barrios Unidos Community Health Center’s various locations in and around Dallas, Texas, you’ll want to drive: this is Texas, and there is a lot of open space. However, driving can have an insidious downside: a higher propensity for a sedentary lifestyle. When Los Barrios asked PCDC to provide financing that would re-start its expansion in the Oak Hill section of Dallas, we immediately noticed something different in the plans: a walking track around and through the site itself. LBUCHC’s focus on exercise was complemented by planned spaces for nutrition counseling and community gatherings, all to promote a healthier lifestyle in its community.

Decreasing infant mortality:
HealthCore Clinic is located in Wichita, Kansas, a city with the distinction of having the highest rate of infant mortality among African-Americans in the nation. As an increase in patient appointments made expansion necessary, management used the opportunity to address this community tragedy, beginning with nutrition and exercise. When HealthCore asked PCDC to finance its expansion, we were delighted to see plans that included a gym, a teaching kitchen, and space for nutritional classes. HealthCore views these as first steps in a larger program to improve healthy birth outcomes in its community.

Helping patients beyond the center:
HealthRight360’s roots in San Francisco date back to the 1960s to the legacy community service organizations of Walden House and the Haight Ashbury Clinic. This 50-year commitment to behavioral health and primary care has enabled HR360 to consider not only its patients’ immediate needs, but also how best to ensure their well-being beyond the clinic walls. Hence, when the organization decided to expand its services in the Mission/South of Market/Downtown area of the city, the space included a computer lab and teaching classrooms, all geared toward formal GED instruction. By helping the community to battle homelessness and unemployment, HR360 is able to more thoroughly serve the needs of the whole individual.

These are just some of the innovative programs PCDC has funded in the past year. We are eager to see what other inventive solutions our clients propose to better their communities and help their patients live healthier lives.

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