A group of University of Virginia students is bringing some much needed health care to an under-served community in Charlottesville. They're organizing free health screenings for people who might not be able to get the services elsewhere.
The students with the UVA School of Medicine are organizing this health screening in the Westhaven neighborhood, which is one of the oldest public housing communities in Charlottesville. The neighborhood has a free clinic already, but a nurse there says this is an opportunity to bring in more services that they can't provide.
The Westhaven Clinic is a stand-alone nursing clinic supported by the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, or JABA, and other independent donors. It's right in the heart of the Westhaven neighborhood, and already provides a range of free mental and physical health services like blood pressure and diabetes screenings, therapy and outreach services, and even free massages on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The clinic even provides a preschool reading and play class for kids in the neighborhood that don't go to school yet
Monica Millbrooks-Scott says her role as a parish nurse at the clinic entails so much more than a traditional health care provider. "I am taking care of the total person and not just with the medical model, which means that I am going to be taking care of the mind, spirit and soul of that person," she said.
This upcoming community health screening is a project for the UVA students and it's also in honor of Black History Month. Students and doctors will be on hand to provide additional services not usually offered by the clinic like glaucoma screenings, hepatitis C testing, and HIV tests. They will also be able to get people in touch with the right services, if they need additional care.
"It's all at one time so that everyone can get free access to everything," said Millbrooks-Scott. "My thinking is that I wanted to get as many services as possible to come here so that my people in my community don't have to travel, because traveling can be an issue."
The free clinic is this Tuesday, February 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Westhaven Recreational Center on Hardy Drive in Charlottesville. There will be a raffle, snacks and giveaways for people who attend, and it's open to anyone in the Westhaven neighborhood and surrounding communities.