New Community Health Center opens in Cottage Grove NeighborhoodBy Naari Honor, Peacemaker Contributor / May 13, 2016
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On Saturday, April 30, residents of the East Greensboro community, Cottage Grove, welcomed the addition of The Mustard Community Health Clinic to the neighborhood with a grand opening celebration. The community clinic operates on the premise that community input is an integral part of its success.
Dr. Elizabeth Mulberry, an internist who has been in practice for more than 20 years, is the primary physician at the health clinic. Dr. Mulberry graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. She completed a combined residency program of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill.
“One of the most important things is that this (MSCHC) is community driven,” said Dr. Mulberry, medical director and primary physician at Mustard Seed. “We want to build trust. They [the community] have had so many promises made to them. We are not dropping in and saying that we have it all figured out.”
The Mustard Seed Community Health Clinic is located at 238 S. English Street. Currently the clinic is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Wednesday, the hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. As the volunteer staff grows, so will the clinic’s hours.
MSCHC will offer a variety of services including immunizations, screenings and referrals for mental health services, physicals, continuity care for chronic diseases, basic urgent medical care, and the clinic plans to add dental services in the next three years.
The Mustard Seed Community Clinic operates out of the former home of Rev. George Allison, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. New Hope, with the help of several organizations and community members, will play a significant role in the success of the clinic.
The health center operates on the premise that health is all encompassing and includes patient education components focused on physical and mental health, nutrition and healthy living. The center also fosters healthy environmental health conditions and positive neighborly interactions among community residents.
At New Hope Baptist, which sits side-by-side to the Mustard Seed, community members are able to take GED or ESOL classes at the church with certified instructors from Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) without having to worry about transportation issues. Those who are interested in the program can register through New Hope in the multi-purpose center or at any GTCC campus. Classes are held at 304 English Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The clinic grounds serve as a home to four bountiful gardens. Produce cultivated at the garden will be incorporated in Dr. Mulberry’s treatment regimen.
“The doctor ascertains the nutritional deficiency of the clients who come here and supplements their nutritional needs with food from the garden,” said Marvin Richmond, New Hope’s associate pastor. “We also work with North Carolina A&T’s [State University] nutrition and agriculture departments. The students come over at no cost and help with the gardens.”
In addition, there are also 16 garden beds located on Gillespie Street. Richmond explained that there are plans to continue adding more gardens as land becomes available. The gardens are cared for by community gardeners such as neighborhood resident Reggie Lee. During the grand opening of the Mustard Seed Community Health Clinic, Lee distributed tomato plants to several community residents and provided instruction on how to plant them at the community garden or at home.
Another key component of the health clinic is the Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association led by its president, Verna Torain, who serves as a community advocate on behalf her fellow residents.
While support for the community and the clinic comes from many different avenues, one thing is understood by all, this is a community venture. Beth McKee-Huger, a volunteer and former executive director of the Greensboro Housing Coalition, said, “It’s really exciting to me when a neighborhood takes ownership for determining its own future.”
It is apparent that many Greensboro residents are rooting for the success of the health clinic.
“Since the city lost HealthServe, this is the beginning instead of a replacement for that and it’s perfect for it to be located in a neighborhood that it is going to serve,” said Greensboro City Council member Nancy Hoffman (District 4). “I think that is what is ideal about it.”
The clinic accepts major insurances, Medicaid and Medicare. It also accepts Guilford County Care Network (GCCN) Orange Cards. For patients who qualify but do not have an Orange Card, the clinic may base one’s fees on an Orange Card sliding fee scale.
“Mustard Seed is compassionate preventative faith-based healthcare,” said Cyndy Holloway, a member of the clinic’s board. She added that this pilot program is bound to succeed and could one day be replicated in other neighborhoods.
The clinic is now fully staffed but always looking for enthusiastic volunteers. For area residents interested in having a positive impact at the Mustard Seed Health Clinic, answer their call to action.
The Mustard Seed Health Community Health Clinic is located at S. English St., Greensboro, N.C. 27401. For more information about volunteer opportunities or to make an appointment, please call (336) 763-0814.
Naari Honor is a junior majoring in Psychology and English with a minor in African American Studies at Guilford College. Her hometown is Lewiston, N.Y.