Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas and Community Clinic got a funding boost from the Endeavor Foundation on Wednesday (April 22) totaling $996,000 to further their work for low cost and accessible health care across Benton and Washington counties.
Endeavor Foundation awarded $411,000 to Mercy Clinic to develop a holistic regional agenda geared toward the physical health, mental health, and basic needs of school-aged children. With 23% of children in Northwest Arkansas living below the poverty threshold and more than half of the region's homeless population under the age of 18, the challenges are daunting.
"It is very difficult to teach a child who is hungry, sick, chronically absent from school, or suffering from ongoing behavioral issues," said Dr. Janie Darr, superintendent of Rogers Public Schools.
"This concept holds great promise to help us resolve some of the biggest issues facing kids outside the classroom so that we can refocus our attention on what we do best…teaching them inside the classroom. By working with Mercy, our school district peers, and other key leaders in the community, we're confident we can develop a solution that not only supports the whole child, but the whole family unit as well,” Darr added.
Dr. Steve Goss, president of Mercy Clinic NWA, agreed that more needs to be done to expand health care access and overall wellbeing services for at-risk school children.
"We at Mercy are thrilled at the chance to bring our resources and expertise to bear on helping our kids become physically and emotionally healthier and more stable,” Goss said.
Another $585,000 grant was awarded to Community Clinic which will fund an expansion of a new facility to be located in southwestern Fayetteville. The south Fayetteville clinic will provide comprehensive, coordinated and continuous primary and preventive healthcare services to patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Southern Washington County is a high need area largely unsupported by Community Clinic's twelve existing locations. The new Martin Luther King Boulevard location will be accessible via Ozark Regional Transit and University of Arkansas Bus routes. The clinic will include twelve exam rooms, a Behavioral Health office, a lab, and general amenities to support up to 6,200 patients annually.
"Endeavor has supported Community Clinic for more than a decade, and we continue to be impressed by the number of people they serve and the quality of affordable care they are able to offer to those most in need," stated Anita Scism, President and CEO, Endeavor Foundation. "We commend Community Clinic for offering an alternative to emergency room visits and providing an ongoing continuum of care for thousands of people. Improving the health status of our community’s most economically disadvantaged is an important step in alleviating poverty."