New community health clinic in Elmira will provide preventative care

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Andrea Ogunwumi, executive director of the Elmira Economic Opportunity Program, in the new community health center. (Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo/WSKG)

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — The Elmira Economic Opportunity Program (EOP) will open a new community health clinic for residents of Chemung and Schuyler counties in April. The health center, located at 650 Baldwin St., will focus on preventative care, including lead tests for children and mental health and diabetes screenings for adults.

“We want to help offer these necessary health screenings to members of the community, so that we can begin to address these various health and social needs,” said Andrea Ogunwumi, the executive director of the Economic Opportunity Program. “Because they’re not separate, they’re actually connected.”

The Elmira Economic Opportunity Program location at 650 Baldwin St. (Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo/WSKG)

The center is the result of a grant from Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield. The Chemung County Health Department, Common Ground Health, Arnot Health*, and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine—whose residents and attending physicians will staff the center—all contributed to the clinic.

The decision to focus on preventative care, specifically lead levels, mental health, and diabetes, came in part from a study by Common Ground Health, looking at the social determinants of health for residents of Elmira.

Ogunwumi said she hopes that the community health center will address some of the barriers to getting preventive care, like transportation and copays. She said there are also some residents who feel distrustful of the medical system, and do not always feel comfortable accessing care.

“There are many marginalized people in our community who have had histories of not being well-treated or supported in medical care, not listened to,” Ogunwumi said.

Ogunwumi walks through the halls of the Economic Opportunity Program’s classrooms. (Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo/WSKG)

Having a community health center at a familiar place where residents receive other services might help address that.

“If I’m dropping my child off at Head Start, dropping them off for their classes, surely I can stay back and you know, take a class on smoking cessation,” said Ogunwumi. “Or while I’m here dropping them off, I can make an appointment so I can get them lead tested.”

Lead testing for children will be the first phase of services the center offers in the spring. Then, they will add mental health screening, and after that, diabetes and blood pressure testing.

Residents will be able to call the center at 607-734-6174, or contact EOP through the program’s Facebook page or website.

*Arnot Health is a WSKG underwriter.