The Fearnside Family Services Center in northeast Gainesville has always had the tools to educate children about health and nutrition. Now they have the medical tools as well.
The Fearnside Center is a Headstart facility, a government program that provides early childhood health and nutrition education to low-income families. March 31 marks day one for the centers’ new clinic, now open to the public.
For Tyeisha Thomas, who lives across the street with her three children, the clinic means a lot.
“My [current] doctor is way out past the mall,” Thomas said. “So me coming here, it’s just right across the street. That’ll be perfect.”
The day of the opening, parents were able to take a walking tour through the clinic to see what the facility has to offer. It includes a reception area, a waiting room and two examination rooms; one for pediatric care and one for adult care. The center also houses a full medical lab, where all the supplies are stored.
Officials from the Alachua County Department of Health and the Alachua County School Board partnered to create the clinic for both education and healthcare purposes.
Owen Roberts, the Alachua County Superintendent of Schools, was at the grand opening of the clinic.
“Today is a very exciting day,” Roberts said. “It is really an opportunity we are providing here for families and children of Alachua County, specifically for families that are most in need in our community.”
Brad Caron, director of the Alachua County Area Medical Reserve Corps, said the mission of the Medical Reserve Corps is to help the under-served residents in the community.
“We’re not going to see third-party folks that can see any doctor,” Caron said, “we will only see those with no insurance or Medicaid.”
Officials with the Alachua County Health Department believe this clinic has the potential to help several low-income families without traveling very far.
Thomas said she was happy to hear the services at this clinic will be similar to what the health department offers.
“They’ll provide physicals for the kids who are getting ready to go back to school and immunizations too,” she said.
For now, the clinic will only be open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Staff members say the clinic can be open for more days in the future if there is medical demand.