Jackson Free Clinic expansion ‘First Choice’ of UMMC schools, HMA
By Jack Mazurak
Three major contributions and numerous private donations to a fundraising campaign for the Jackson Free Clinic will pay for a construction project to double the size of the student-run indigent-care facility, allowing room for more patients and the addition of new health-care services.
The clinic’s estimated $300,000 expansion and renovation project, scheduled to start in June, will take two-to-three months. The work will increase the usable square footage to 5,152 and provide space for dental, occupational and physical therapy services.
During its “First Choice” fundraising campaign, Jackson Free Clinic board members received a $150,000 donation from the School of Medicine, a $50,000 donation from the School of Health Related Professions and personal support from UMMC and Jackson-area community members.
The third major gift came May 10 when executives from Health Management Associates, Inc. presented Jackson Free Clinic student leaders with a $150,000 donation during a news conference at the clinic.
“Having this opportunity to help the Jackson Free Clinic as they expand their facility is truly an honor for us at Health Management,” said Bill Williams, southern division CEO.
“We’re elated and so grateful to receive such a large donation to support our campaign and ultimately our patients,” said Bobby Tullos, Jackson Free Clinic director and fourth-year School of Medicine student. “With this gift we have met our fundraising goal and additionally established a lasting rapport with an amazing organization which, like us, serves to better the health of Mississippi.”
The Jackson Free Clinic currently uses only half the space in the building it owns near the intersection of Fortification Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. In addition to adding occupational therapy, physical therapy and dental services, the project will:
• increase the number of examination rooms from five to 10;
• provide a classroom for patient and student education;
• upgrade laboratory facilities;
• increase the waiting room size;
• provide a community conference room;
• upgrade restrooms;
• meet all handicap standards;
• expand diagnostic and volunteer subspecialty services; and
• double the number of patients that can be seen at the clinic.
The 12-year-old clinic is a not-for-profit enterprise that serves adult patients who don’t have health insurance and can’t otherwise afford care. School of Medicine students staff the clinic under the supervision of licensed physician volunteers from the Jackson community. All the clinic’s services are free.
On a yearly budget of about $30,000, the clinic provides examinations, medications, lab work, diagnostic services and health education for patients.
While both the clinic’s volunteer base and patient load have grown through the past decade, its facilities have not.
“We’ve reached our goal of $300,000, thanks to generous donations from HMA, the Medical Center and many people in the UMMC and Jackson community,” Tullos said. “We are continuing the campaign to raise funds for equipment, supplies and overhead costs.”
Architects Richard McNeel and Melissa Edwards at JBMH Architects in downtown Jackson donated their services to design and plan the renovations.
Contractor Ray Floyd of Jackson-based Fountain Construction organized subcontractors and developed an at-cost plan for the construction. The facility will be medical grade and meet all state and federal requirements.
The School of Medicine’s gift in February came from funding the school had accrued through undirected donations.
“The volunteers at the Jackson Free Clinic provide important services to the community, so we’re glad to be a part of their expansion campaign,” said Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and School of Medicine dean.
At a May 1 reception to recognize numerous community and UMMC donors, students from the physical and occupational therapy programs presented a $50,000 check to Tullos on behalf of the School of Health Related Professions.
Both the occupational therapy and physical therapy programs are housed within SHRP. When the renovated clinic reopens, students from those programs will be able to volunteer and get hands-on experience.
Members of the clinic’s board are working with SHRP students to give them representation on the board and working with SHRP faculty to arrange the required oversight of care.
The Jackson Free Clinic Board also is working toward integrating other UMMC programs, including students in SHRP’s Health Informatics and Information Management Program and the Schools of Pharmacy and Dentistry.
While the construction project is under way, the clinic will continue operations during its normal 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday schedule from a temporary location at 809 N. State St. in Jackson.
For more information about the Jackson Free Clinic or to donate to the First Choice campaign, visit www.jacksonfreeclinic.com.
Tim Mitchell, left, HMA Jackson Network CEO, and Bill Williams, second from left, HMA Southern Division CEO; present a check to Dr. James Keeton, center, vice chancellor for health affairs, Bobby Tulos, M4, Jackson Free Clinic director, and Dr. LouAnn Woodward, associate vice chancellor for health affairs.