NEW BEDFORD — A new community clinic focused on serving the uptown area is opening at the Community Economic Development Center on Acushnet Avenue.
“This clinic is of great importance to the immigrant community because we don’t care about your residency status, social class, nationality or gender,” said Marisol Ruiz, the clinic’s nurse. , in Spanish. “Above all, we are here to support these people and make sure they also have access to healthcare.”
The clinic will be attended by a nurse practitioner every 15 days, but Ruiz will be present daily to take care of basic situations.
The community clinic was created with a $56,000 grant from Health Resources in Action, a Boston-based nonprofit public health consulting firm.
Corinn Williams, executive director of the CEDC, said the group’s partnership with HRIA began at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to close some of the gaps in health care access in the neighborhood,” she said.
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Clinic located in the community
There are large concentrations of poverty in the north of the city. According to the US Census Bureau, in the immediate vicinity of the census tract within the CEDC office, more than half of households earn less than $35,000 per year.
There are also greater health disparities within low-income communities. A recent Groundwork Southcoast study found that obesity and asthma rates are higher in the North End than in other parts of the city.
Other factors, such as the heat island effect, also contribute to negative health effects in the region.
Low income also creates mobility issues for much of the region’s population, many of whom are undocumented.
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“A lot of people here don’t have [vehicle] with which to travel from here to the downtown clinic,” Ruiz said. “There are even people who don’t know how to take the bus, let alone a taxi; and they can’t do it in English either.
“With that in mind, we want to be where they are so they can have better access.”
Treatment of Common Ailments
Currently, the care offered is rudimentary. Ruiz is available every day and able to take temperature, blood pressure and perform other basic tasks
“We now treat some of the most common conditions,” she said. “If it’s really serious, we transfer them to the hospital or the clinic.”
Ruiz added that for many patients who may feel nervous about going to a more formal clinic, the extra step and referral from them is helpful.
In addition, a nurse practitioner visits every 15 days and would be able to perform more complex procedures and prescribe medications.
The clinic is located in the CEDC offices at 1410 Acushnet Ave. Patients are encouraged to call ahead at 508-979-4684.
The next nurse practitioner visit will be Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Contact Kevin G. Andrade at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @KevinGAndrade. Support local journalism and subscribe to the Standard-Times today!