Cheryl Welday (right) has been a driving force behind the donation drive to fund the Oakwood Adams Child and Adolescent Health Center at Adams Upper Elementary School. Dr. Neelam Kumar has been involved with the clinic since its inception in 1997.
Monday, May 23, 2011
The latest addition to Adams Upper Elementary School in Westland doesn't look anything like a typical school classroom.
In the case of the Adams Child and Adolescent Health Center, that could be a good thing.
“We've had people come in and say, ‘This looks like a real doctor's office',” said Cheryl Welday, who spearheaded the donation drive to fund the project. “I take that as a compliment.”
The clinic is a partnership between the Wayne-Westland Community School and the Oakwood Healthcare System (OHS). The district provides the space for the in-school clinic, while Oakwood supplies the physicians, nurses and administrative staff with major funding coming from a grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health.
The partnership dates back to 1997. The clinic had been operated out of Lincoln and Jefferson Barns Elementary schools, but those schools were closed down at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year as part of a major cost-savings initiative in which the district closed six elementary schools and re-aligned grade levels at the elementary and middle school level.
The Oakwood Foundation has been gathering donations to fund the $100,000 in renovations required at Adams - formerly a middle school - to convert three home economics classrooms into an expanded clinic that would better serve the students and their families. The new space, which is now open, has three examination rooms and additional office space. It is laid out in a more open fashion with bright walls contributing to a comforting atmosphere.
“It has surpassed my expectations,” said Welday, who has been the champion of the project.
“I am very pleased with the result,” said Dr. Neelam Kumar, one of the doctors who sees patients there. She has been involved with the clinic since its inception. “It is a great facility.”
It is nearly three times the size of the either the Lincoln or Jefferson Barns clinics, and more visually appealing, said Lisa Rutledge, Corporate Director Community Outreach for Oakwood Healthcare Inc.
“It is a lot more inviting,” she said. “We will be able to better serve the community.”
“It really represents a modern-day clinic,” added Wayne-Westland School Superintendent Greg Baracy. “We're very grateful for the partnerships, and all those that contributed to makes this a successful program. It's a valuable service for our kids.”
The clinic was established to improve student and family health, increase family health knowledge and awareness of healthcare needs, increase student attendance and to bring health care to students and families that couldn't otherwise afford it.
Physical exams, vision and hearing screenings, basic lab services and mental health services are available there. About 512 users accounted for more than 1,900 visits at the clinic last year. The new clinic is located near offices for Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures program, which strives to improve academic achievement and help students prepare for their next levels of schooling, as well as the Parent Resource Center.
Members of the Wayne-Westland school board said they liked what they saw at an open house that took place recently.
“I think it looks great,” said Trustee John Goci. “This really is a God-send in this community.”
Westland Mayor William Wild said he was glad to see the clinic continue to operate at the new location.
“It's been a great partnership,” he said. “We are happy to have it here in our community. They provide a valuable service to people who really need it.”