This year’s National Health Center Week Celebrations at Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) will be bigger and better than ever to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the community health center model.
In honor of the milestone, CHI is planning a series of events geared toward the whole family and aims to reach special populations.
CHI makes up 11 of the more then 1,300 community health centers nationwide providing high-quality, cost-effective, accessible care to about 23 million people. One in every 15 people living in the United States depends on the services of community health centers. It’s a model to provide medical services to all people, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status.
“These federally qualified health centers also give patients a say in the governing of their healthcare,” said Brodes H. Hartley Jr., president and CEO of CHI. “Fifty-one percent of the board members are patients at community health centers like CHI. It’s a requirement and it helps keep the organization grounded in its true mission.”
It’s a mission that CHI will highlight in August with five events beginning with the Back to School Health Fair on Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Doris Ison Health Center, 10300 SW 216 St. The free event promises excitement and fun for the whole family with magicians, dancers, face painting, a bounce house, food and more.
But even more importantly, the event will offer a host of free medical and dental screenings for children and their parents along with free backpacks and school supplies.
“The start of the school year is a critical time in a child’s life,” said Dr. Nicole Fields, chief of pediatrics and medical director for CHI’s school-based centers. “You want to ensure they are up to date with their vaccines and they’ve had all their health screenings done before classes begin. Give them the clean slate they need to succeed in the upcoming school year. Getting organized with supplies and other items also helps them to feel at ease and more confident going into a new year.”
The public is invited to the South Miami- Dade Cultural Arts Center on Aug. 12, at 11:30 a.m., for CHI’s Health Care Forum. The panel discussion will examine the ever-evolving role of Community Health Centers and will be moderated by Emmy Award-winning journalist Irika Sargent, CBS 4 News anchor. Panelists include: Brodes H. Hartley Jr., CHI president/CEO; State Sen. Rene Garcia, and keynote speaker Tom Van Coverden, president/ CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). The panel is followed by lunch. RSVPs for the free event are to call 305-252-4853.
In addition, CHI always has championed the cause for providing quality healthcare to the homeless. So on Thursday, Aug.13, it will host a health fair at the Chapman Partnership for Empowering the Homeless in Homestead. This event, by invitation only, includes the Colgate dental van with free dental screenings, free health screenings, food, and backpacks and school supplies.
Also on Aug. 13, 4-8 p.m., CHI will partner with the Farm Workers Association to present a health fair at 450 Davis Parkway in Florida City.
The free Spanish-language event will include health and dental screenings, health education, snacks, refreshments and more.
In addition, CHI will host school physical and immunization day the following week on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at all of the CHI locations, except from 8 a.m. to noon at the Everglades and South Dade health centers. A parent or guardian must be present and should bring the child’s immunization records. Walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, call 305-252-4820.
For a full rundown of all of CHI’s National Health Center Week Festivities go to www.chisouthfl.org.