June 23, 2024 10:12 pm
Free preventive health care services available at 22 neighborhood wellness clinics

The State Health Department announced on Tuesday that 22 COVID-19 neighborhood testing sites in Michigan have been transformed into neighborhood wellness centers. These centers will now offer free preventive health care services and substance use disorder prevention services in marginalized communities that are at a higher risk for adverse health outcomes. Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II visited one of the eight wellness centers in Detroit, Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church, and stated that these centers are helping to remove barriers and address racial health disparities.

Initially established as COVID-19 testing sites in 2020, these wellness centers have expanded their services to include blood pressure screenings, diabetes screenings, cholesterol screenings, substance use disorder services, flu testing, crisis support during disaster responses, and acting as warming and cooling centers. The funding for these centers comes from a $17 million allocation from the 2024 state budget.

Gilchrist expressed pride in the efforts made to address racial health disparities and expand access to affordable health care. He highlighted that these wellness centers are a result of the work done to tackle racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths. The establishment of these centers showcases Michigan’s ongoing commitment to increasing health care access and supporting individuals and families in the state.

Joining Gilchrist at the Detroit wellness center were State Health Department Director Elizabeth Hertel and Tommy Stallworth, the former director of the Governor’s Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force. Hertel emphasized that these neighborhood wellness centers have a history of reducing disparities and providing no-cost health and wellness services in communities where there is a greater risk of adverse health outcomes. This initiative aims to meet residents where they are and connect them to essential health services and resources.

The transformation of these COVID-19 testing sites into neighborhood wellness centers represents a significant step towards addressing healthcare disparities in Michigan communities at risk for adverse outcomes. With this newfound expansion of services offered by these sites, residents can access vital medical care without any financial burden or stigma associated with traditional healthcare facilities.

In addition to providing free preventive care services such as blood pressure screenings, diabetes screenings, cholesterol screenings, substance use disorder services will be available at all eight locations across the state. This includes flu testing during peak flu season as well as crisis support during disaster responses.

These neighborhood wellness centers also serve as warming and cooling shelters during extreme weather conditions such as heatwaves or cold snaps.

Overall, this initiative by Michigan’s State Health Department represents a critical step towards ensuring that marginalized communities receive necessary medical care without facing financial or social barriers.

As Lt Governor Garlin Gilchrist II put it “These neighborhood wellness

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